Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
I love this passage. This marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. Up to this point Jesus has, as far as we know, lived an ordinary 1st century Palestinian life. The gospels don’t record him doing any big work or achieving anything. And it is at this point the Voice of heaven says, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” This is grace. As I reflected on this it reminded me of this passage from Marilynne Robinson’s ‘Gilead’, in which an aged dieing father writes a letter to his very young son.
“I’d never have believed I’d see a wife of mine doting on a child of mine. It still amazes me every time I think of it. I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle, something more than a miracle to me. You may not remember me very well at all and it may seem to you to be no great thing to have been the good child of an old man in a shabby little town you will no doubt leave behind. If only I had the words to tell you.”
I’m reminded to live in this grace, by receiving it from the One who gives so recklessly and seeing the gifts of grace in my friends and family. “I’m writing this in part to tell you that if you ever wonder what you’ve done in your life, and everyone does wonder sooner or later, you have been God’s grace to me, a miracle.” Thank you.