The Baptism of Jesus: the new Genesis

Confusion often occurs for Christians when they look at the baptism of Jesus. Common questions that often arise are, "Why was Jesus baptized if he was perfect and divine?" or, "Doesn't the baptism of Jesus show that he was confused about his own identity?" Or another one, "Was Jesus baptized for a different reason than we are? If so, how does his baptism have anything to do with us?"

As we work through the baptism account, we will also strive to answer these questions and hopefully bring a new and refreshed sense of wonder at what God has done for humanity.

The Big Picture

Many pictures and events are recapitulating here at the baptism of Jesus. And this makes complete sense. It is like a tapestry being woven together and all the historical strands of God's plan are tying together in Jesus.

And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove.
— Mark 1:10

We'll take a look at a few of those beautifully woven stories so that we can discover more of the favor of God for us through Christ. In this post, the first parallel account that we can see working through this story is that of the Creation itself.

As this world came into being, we see the Holy Spirit "hovering" over the face of the Earth. The Spirit is energizing and ordering this new and wondrous world of God. It is the Genesis of our world where God the Spirit is empowering it and celebrating over it.

Applying this Picture

Now, in Mark 1 as Jesus comes up out of the water, the Spirit is seen "hovering" over the water and Christ being sent down from the Father. The imagery is telling us that while man has destroyed God's good world, the Father is presenting us with a new world; a new genesis for mankind. The glorious truth is that this world can and will be changed. It will not always be buried in sin and hopelessness. Humanity has hope! The Spirit of God celebrates and empowers the once-for-all genesis of mankind.

Through Mark's story (and the other gospel writers) we are able to see how God loves this world. God has neither removed himself to a safe distance nor abandoned us forever. Instead, there is a beautiful, wonderful, and powerful new beginning for mankind -- but only through the person of Jesus Christ. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things.

This also applies to us deeply at our baptism. When we are baptized into Christ. The Holy Spirit is transforming, empowering, and celebrating the making of a new creature as he unites us to God. Our soul finds both its origin and destiny as the new genesis of salvation takes place in our lives.

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He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
— Colossians 1:18-20