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Wed, January 29, 2014
Jesus' baptism something we all can learn from
By Rev. William Joseph Rauch
The baptism of Jesus is the theme this Sunday for churches that follow the traditional church year and use the Revised Common Lectionary system. This commemoration of Jesus’ baptism near the beginning of the new year has a long history in Christian tradition.
It comes near Christmas because the New Testament provides next to nothing about the intervening period in Jesus’ life between his birth and his baptism around the age of 30-something.
Actually, his baptism represents a dramatic beginning to Jesus’ public life and ministry. In fact, in the account in Matthew 3:13-17, Jesus is recorded as speaking for the first time, when he dialogues with John the Baptist about John’s hesitation to baptize someone whom he clearly senses to be God’s messiah.
“I need to be baptized by you,” John says to Jesus, “and do you come to me?” Jesus’ response is a bit ambiguous, but basically it means that John should proceed with baptizing him because it was the will of God. And it is from that moment that each of the four Gospels goes on to describe all the wondrous activity that Jesus’ ministry involved — healing sick people, feeding the hungry and preaching Good News, leading eventually to the awesome events of Good Friday and Easter. In any case, his baptism is the proclamation that the day of his public ministry has arrived.
In part, baptism represents something similar for Christian believers. Among various other meanings, baptism marks the beginning of an person’s participation in Jesus’ ongoing ministry through the church. St. Paul writes in Galatians: “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” So in theological terms baptism constitutes an intimate connection between Jesus and the believer.
See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.
This article is a good one, worth a read, and it shows how woefully scanty is the information that has come down to us through the centuries in the Scripture. Not that the information is wrong, but that it is so paltry. For example, the article tells us that this is the first instance where Jesus is said to have spoken. Of course, Urantia Book readers know otherwise. Jesus was saying plenty, from childhood on...
But the occasion of Jesus' baptism is indeed a momentous one, and it does mark Jesus' formal entrance into his public ministry. Adding the narrative from The Urantia Book to your understanding of this occasion will be mind-expanding. I'll guide you through it.
Where was Jesus before he came to John for baptism? He had completed the sojourn on Mt Hermon, where he finally and for all time vanquished the apostate Caligastia and Satan, Lucifer's emissary. This occasion is the one that the Bible terms the "Great Temptation." If you click on the link, you'll discover its real purpose in Jesus' life.
Following that, Jesus went back to Capernaum and to his work in Zebedee's boatshop, until he received word that John the Baptist was drawing very close to Capernaum in his mission of baptizing believers:
134:9.8 As time passed, rumors came to Capernaum of one John who was preaching while baptizing penitents in the Jordan, and John preached: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand; repent and be baptized.” Jesus listened to these reports as John slowly worked his way up the Jordan valley from the ford of the river nearest to Jerusalem. But Jesus worked on, making boats, until John had journeyed up the river to a point near Pella in the month of January of the next year, A.D. 26, when he laid down his tools, declaring, “My hour has come,” and presently presented himself to John for baptism.
But a great change had been coming over Jesus. Few of the people who had enjoyed his visits and ministrations as he had gone up and down in the land ever subsequently recognized in the public teacher the same person they had known and loved as a private individual in former years. And there was a reason for this failure of his early beneficiaries to recognize him in his later role of public and authoritative teacher. For long years this transformation of mind and spirit had been in progress, and it was finished during the eventful sojourn on Mount Hermon.
The Urantia Book dates Jesus' baptism to Monday January 14, A.D. 26:
Here is the section called Meeting of Jesus and John, where the actual baptism takes place. In it we read:
135:8.6 There was a tone of finality and authority in Jesus’ voice. John was atremble with emotion as he made ready to baptize Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan at noon on Monday, January 14, A.D. 26. Thus did John baptize Jesus and his two brothers James and Jude. And when John had baptized these three, he dismissed the others for the day, announcing that he would resume baptisms at noon the next day. As the people were departing, the four men still standing in the water heard a strange sound, and presently there appeared for a moment an apparition immediately over the head of Jesus, and they heard a voice saying, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” A great change came over the countenance of Jesus, and coming up out of the water in silence he took leave of them, going toward the hills to the east. And no man saw Jesus again for forty days.
The entire next paper - Paper 136 - is devoted to Jesus' baptism and it's ramifications. You can read all about the profound meaning of the baptism HERE, wherein we read:
136:2.7 This day of baptism ended the purely human life of Jesus. The divine Son has found his Father, the Universal Father has found his incarnated Son, and they speak the one to the other.
And following the baptism, Jesus again went into seclusion in the hills of Mt Hermon for forty days in order to make final plans and decisions that would guide the public ministry upon which he was about to embark. About this event The Urantia Book teaches:
136:3.3 Jesus did not go into retirement for the purpose of fasting and for the affliction of his soul. He was not an ascetic, and he came forever to destroy all such notions regarding the approach to God. His reasons for seeking this retirement were entirely different from those which had actuated Moses and Elijah, and even John the Baptist. Jesus was then wholly self-conscious concerning his relation to the universe of his making and also to the universe of universes, supervised by the Paradise Father, his Father in heaven. He now fully recalled the bestowal charge and its instructions administered by his elder brother, Immanuel, ere he entered upon his Urantia incarnation. He now clearly and fully comprehended all these far-flung relationships, and he desired to be away for a season of quiet meditation so that he could think out the plans and decide upon the procedures for the prosecution of his public labors in behalf of this world and for all other worlds in his local universe.
Finally, what did Jesus say about "water baptism?"
141:6.5 The apostles made great progress during the sojourn at Amathus. But they were very much disappointed that Jesus would give them no suggestions about dealing with John’s disciples. Even in the important matter of baptism, all that Jesus said was: “John did indeed baptize with water, but when you enter the kingdom of heaven, you shall be baptized with the Spirit.”
And about the "baptism of the Spirit," Jesus said:
148:4.8 Men are, indeed, by nature evil, but not necessarily sinful. The new birth — the baptism of the spirit — is essential to deliverance from evil and necessary for entrance into the kingdom of heaven, but none of this detracts from the fact that man is the son of God. Neither does this inherent presence of potential evil mean that man is in some mysterious way estranged from the Father in heaven so that, as an alien, foreigner, or stepchild, he must in some manner seek for legal adoption by the Father. All such notions are born, first, of your misunderstanding of the Father and, second, of your ignorance of the origin, nature, and destiny of man.
So, there you have it. We here at TruthBook love the Bible - we respect it and its teachings, and yet, we are committed to exposing as many believers as possible to the greatly expanded and faithfully restated life and teachings of Jesus as presented in The Urantia Book. It is time for the world to be aware of Jesus' life as it was, and the purposes of his mission.
Link to External Source Article
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