“And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:16-17)

The mission of John the Baptist was to prepare Israel for the Messiah. He proclaimed that this then was the time to repent of sin, to forsake living for self and turn one’s heart to God to serve Him alone. John’s baptism served as the sign of dedication to God, faith, commitment to righteousness, and repentance.

Jesus came to be baptized, not because He needed to repent. He had no sin. Rather, Jesus, in His baptism was identifying with all humanity, showing us that He is one with us. It also showed that He was taking our sins upon Himself. Finally, Jesus was baptized to show His dedication to the will of God. This would mark the start of His ministry to preach the gospel, to perform works of righteousness and power, to be our sacrifice for sin.

God the Father confirmed His mission and person with words that remind us of our own Baptism. Like Jesus, we who have declared our faith through Baptism are God’s beloved sons. He is well pleased with us as He is with Jesus, not because of what we have done or would do, but because of our union with Christ. We die to sin and self in Baptism and rise to a life of righteousness empowered by His Holy Spirit. We must avail ourselves daily of His power and resources so we may not only carry out the ministry of the gospel of faith in Jesus but also for help in our struggle with sin so we do not stray from the light of His truth.