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)
Read Mark 1:9-11
Water is hard to talk about because it carries so many meanings. Water is a symbol of life -- before birth we develop in the water of our mothers' bodies, and gushing water is a sign that a baby is about to be born. After birth we depend on water for life and health -- few people can live more than three days without drinking, and who would want to go unwashed that long?
But water is also a symbol of death. People drown when floods come, or when waves or riptides sweep them away. And diseases that cause too much fluid in the brain, the heart, or the lungs can kill even on dry land.
Maybe this is why Jesus chose water to mark the beginning of His public ministry. When John baptized Him, Jesus went down into the water and came back up out of it again. He foreshadowed what He was going to do at the end of His public ministry. At that time, He freely went down into death to save us all -- and then rose out of it, back to life again.
Jesus led the way for all of us through His Baptism. Paul reminds us, "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by Baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4).
Here, at the beginning of His ministry, Jesus leads the way through the waters of life and death. He offers us new birth through Baptism into the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is death there, yes -- death for our old sinful nature, death for the evil that clings to us so closely and infects our hearts and minds. And that is frightening. But it is so worth it. Through Baptism, Jesus gives us everlasting life and joy as God's own beloved children, both now and on the day He returns to raise us all from the dead.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your gift of life through Baptism. This day and always, drown out the sin in my life and raise me up to live with You in joy and peace. Amen.
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about water?
Talk about a time when you saw water as a clear symbol either of life or of death. What impact has that event had on you ever since?
How do you personally keep your Baptism in mind?