This week I will contemplate John's baptism of Jesus. In his letters to the Christians in Rome and at Colossae, Paul describes Christian Baptism as as a death ("we were buried with him by baptism into death," "you were buried with him in baptism"). In Jesus' case, his baptism begins his own march toward his death. To be sure, coming into this world was the beginning of his earthly progression, but in his baptism he owns this fate for himself as human adult. If Bonhoeffer is correct that when Jesus calls a man, he calls him to come and die; so for himself, when Jesus officially responded to God's call, he was coming to die.
This is important to Lent because it is a season of putting ourselves to death (as, again, in Colossians, "put to death the earthly parts of you"). It is also important because in this baptism of Jesus John finds his singular purpose; he ushers the Lord into his ministry, into action. The wilderness, John's much longer Lenten season, had prepared him for precisely this. John is a forerunner, an examplar for me in what I hope to accomplish this and every Lenten season, indeed, every day; to bring Jesus into action in my world through my own service to him.
Lent, Day 23 - Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee (Mark 1:9)
Lent, Day 24 - John prevented Jesus (Matthew 3:14)
Lent, Day 25 - the heaven was opened (Luke 3:21)
Lent, Day 26 -"I myself did not know him" (John 1:33)
Lent, Day 27 - the Spirit descending like a dove
Lent, Day 28 - You are my Son, whom I love
PS - I regret the tardiness for Days 21 and 22 [they are posted under their intended, not actual, dates]. This series has been a blessing to me and it is the primary thrust of my Lenten observance. I do appreciate your patience (even if the only reader is me) and promise to do my best to keep on time with future posts.