A Tale of Two Baptisms
I often wonder why the incarnation of Christ is so hard for us to comprehend. God became a man and yet as a man he was fully God. Some might say this is impossible because you cannot be two things at the same time, but is that not part of the mystery of God?
Let’s look at two stories from Mathew’s gospel.
The Baptism of Jesus
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
Consider another story in Mathew 17.
Six days later Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus.
Peter exclaimed, “Lord, it’s wonderful for us to be here! If you want, I’ll make three shelters as memorials—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
But even as he spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him.” The disciples were terrified and fell face down on the ground.
There are many parallels here which I believe the Holy Spirit will reveal to you as you meditate on these passages. But I will prime the pump a bit by saying that John’s baptism of Jesus in the Jordan allowed God in the flesh to fully identify with the fallen race of Adam. The transfiguration on the mountain top allowed Jesus the man to be fully identified with the glory of heaven and his oneness with the father.
The most beautiful linkage between these two events is the Father’s voice speaking out of heaven with the affirmation of Jesus as his dearly loved Son who brings the Father great joy.
These two spoken words from the Father are amazingly similar and communicate the Father’s great pleasure. He had great pleasure in his son’s complete identification with the human race and the exact same pleasure in his identification with the divine.
My personal takeaway from this is that the full experience of both the heavenly and the natural is meant to be expressed in my own life. I am to be fully alive and engaged in this earthly experience while simultaneously fully engaged in my heavenly identity. God is equally pleased as I maintain both in this divine equilibrium.
How will you apply this in your personal walk? I’d love to hear your comments.