Everyone loves a good announcement. Well maybe not everyone, depending on what’s being announced! I personally love it when Starbucks announces a brand new latte or when PBS announces a new Masterpiece show. I love it when my friends have joyous announcements of coming babies or big life events. These types of things, whether small or great, are times of celebration and excitement. We rally around the source of the announcement and become a part of whatever the good news is.
The scene that is described in this passage of Scripture is the scene of an announcement of greater importance than anything we can possibly imagine. I’d love to have been an eyewitness to this little piece of history. This moment is what marked the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. Prophecies were fulfilled, an example was set, and the Messiah came into view. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus and to call the people to repentance. He was given the opportunity and blessing of baptizing Jesus, the Son of God. John struggled and even told Jesus that he should be the one being baptized by Jesus, not the other way around. Baptism is a representation of repentance and turning from sin and Jesus had no need to repent. Even so, Jesus chose to be baptized as a He was our atoning sacrifice. He was blameless and yet prepared to take our punishment.
People of all sorts were gathered at the Jordan River that day…followers of John, Pharisees, and Sadducees. John had been calling the religious leaders to repent for their lack of faith and dependance on their heritage as Jesus approached for the big announcement. I’m sure the responses were varied as they witnessed the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove and God the Father blessing His Son. Though we weren’t eyewitnesses, we have been blessed with God’s Word. Though we weren’t present we must still respond. The announcement in this passage provides a great opportunity for us, as Christ-followers, to take stock of our own hearts. To recognize the sacrifice that was made. To remember the example that was set. What is our response to this great announcement? Will we respond in humility and repentance, or will we stubbornly cling to our own desires?