This is one of four Songs of the Suffering Servant found in Isaiah. It presents a prophet with a mission and a divine destiny. While his message is global, liberating and salvific, it is taught very discreetly, but firmly. It also hints opposition. This prophet himself is both a covenant and endowed with the Holy Spirit. You can also see hints o the Holy Trinity here, but this will only be explicitly taught by Jesus Himself.
The Baptism of Jesus is now also a mystery of the Rosary. It is also one of three Epiphanies taught by the Church. The others being the Adoration of the Magi (perhaps part of the Birth of Christ mystery of the Rosary) and the Marriage Feast at Cana (another mystery of the Rosary).
When we think of Baptism we think of a Sacrament which forgives original sin and any other sin committed before the time of its administration. But there is an aspect of Baptism that goes far beyond removing sin, but is dulled by venial sin and killed by mortal sin. Baptism makes us children of God. It sets us apart like a king symbolized when a child is anointed with chrism on crown of the head. This anointing depicts a lesser known aspect of baptism – the mystery of Christ’s anointing. Christ means anointed. Christians are anointed with the Holy Spirit at Baptism. It has the potential of radically changing behavior from an earth being to a divine being. At Antioch the followers of Christ were called Christians for the first time because there was a pronounced change in their behavior especially in the way they treated those around them.
The Baptism of Jesus has nothing to do with forgiving Jesus’ sins because God is sinless. His baptism shows to us Christ’s dignity for our benefit so that we can believe and change our ways into what the Acts of the Apostles call “the Way.” Because of Jesus’ dual nature of being both God and man, He has never been separated from God the Father or the Holy Spirit. Jesus is anointed by the Holy Spirit for our benefit. We cannot see God and in this baptism at the Jordan, it is made clear to us. Jesus as a man is set apart by God for us to see that He is no ordinary person, but God’s anointed and God Himself. The Father speaks, not for Jesus’ benefit, but for our benefit. God the Father assures us that Jesus is the Son of God designated as the Teacher to Whom we must listen.
Oddly Jesus lines up with sinners to join them through His Mystical Body and to save them from their sins. Historically this is the first step in taking upon Himself the sins of the human race, a prelude to Jesus crucified between two thieves – one saved and the other perhaps lost. Jesus becomes humanly aware of His mission given Him by Father as the Suffering Servant – a very gentle Servant of God. This Servant is the living covenant between God and God’s people. A covenant made in suffering and in solidarity with suffering humanity. This is the start of making our death sentence into our own redemption as we unite our sufferings to God on the Cross mystically through His Body.
At the Incarnation Mary, a creature gives free consent to be the instrument that brings salvation to anyone who chooses to follow Christ. At the Baptism of Jesus a radical divine humility takes place. God Himself gives free, and now human consent, to save the human race. Jesus begins a life of temptation and struggle. Jesus’ baptism manifests itself by a grandiose and immediate effect where the Kingdom of God becomes present (another mystery of the Rosary).
Jesus’ baptism is a kind of a coronation. The reign of a new ruler who behaves in an unexpected way. He is a gentle ruler with power and the Holy Spirit. He makes this power known by miracles, preaching with authority and victory over demons. Jesus is an irresistible, but silent advance against evil by a human being that is no match for Satan.
After Jesus ascends into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to us at Pentecost. This May our eighth graders will receive this same intensity of the Holy Spirit. Pray that they are in the state of grace so that they can appreciate their further anointing as a priest, prophet and a king. May they become for us the great peacemakers to repair what we have failed to do in our life time.