Jesus’ submission to baptism was no simple act of personal piety. Jesus saw John’s baptism and fiery preaching as a declaration that there would be a new world order where God will set right what the evil world did wrong. By submitting to John’s baptism, Jesus declared that he was ready for this new world order he is to start with His ministry.
We as Christians are called to live our baptism. We can’t afford to make ourselves comfortable or do only what will be appreciated or be satisfied with the way things are. We have to struggle with what’s right and what’s wrong, what’s important and what’s not important. Baptism changes us. It is a celebration of grace and an enactment of the Word of God.
Jesus’ baptism was the start of his earthly ministry. He had to have a clear sense of God’s support and identity before he could begin his mission. Our mission is the same as his mission, and before we can start our mission, we need to have the support and identity that only our faith in Jesus can provide. That identity is as a child of God.
Baptism calls us to service. God had a purpose for Jesus, and he has a purpose for each and every one of us. This purpose is to identify God with us in Jesus, by serving justice in the world until God establishes justice on the earth. This purpose will be made clear to us at a time and place of God’s choosing. We can’t change God’s timetable. He does things in His own time and in His own way. He gives a vision. He reveals to us why we do what we do. He gives us a purpose even in our pain. If we are faithful, great things will happen. They might happen immediately, or they might not happen for some distant time in the future. They might happen in our lifetime, or they might happen after we die, but if we are faithful to God’s calling, great things will happen.
Doing what God requires may be difficult. For some, it means becoming more humble because they have gotten too proud. For others, it means becoming more forceful, because they are too meek. For others, it means going out and helping the needy. We must also remember that what we think is the right thing to do may not be what God considers to be right. For example, Joseph thought he was doing the right thing when he planned to divorce Mary after she became pregnant, but it wasn’t what God wanted.
We must listen for our calling. We must not be afraid if God calls us to do something great. We must not be ashamed if God calls us to do something small. We must be faithful and prepare ourselves to see the heavens open and hear God’s voice saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”