“In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 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. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:9-11)
Our lectionary readings this week speak about the light of God’s truth. These days our world no longer considers truth something that is absolute. Instead, truth is relative to what individuals think, feel, or experience. What may be true for one does not have to be true for another. This of course may seem to be a great way to get people to live in harmony, but in fact, it leads to conflicts, arguments, animosity, and violence. Who decides which truth is truer if such a thing is even possible?
The truth that God reveals in the Scriptures is not subject to human whims and desires. As John the Baptist taught, all human beings need to repent of their sins and place their faith in God’s savior, that is, Jesus Christ. When Jesus came to him to be baptized, He showed His willingness to identify with us and take on our sins. He also demonstrated His obedience to the Father in all things. A lesson we need to heed.
But another absolute truth was revealed when Jesus was baptized for the Father proclaimed Him to be His Son. This proclamation confirmed to John, and to us, that Jesus has a unique relationship with the Father. Jesus is equal in divinity, status, and power. In addition, that statement reveals another absolute that applies to all those who are baptized into Christ. That same declaration of relationship and sonship is made of every one of us who is baptized into Christ. We are sons of God. We are pleasing in God’s sight because when God sees us, He sees Jesus. And though we are not equal to Jesus terms of power, status, or divinity, we have His righteousness. This is the greatest news we can hear, the greatest news we can give to people in our sin-filled world. Unity with God as our Father is only by faith in Jesus. And so because believers are one in Christ, we are one with all believers. This is the truth that will rid the world of hatred and racism.