James Martin, S.J.: Why was Jesus baptized?
Did you ever wonder why Jesus was baptized? It’s something Christians don’t often think about. But, after all, the Gospels say that John the Baptist was preaching a baptism of repentance for sins. And what sins did Jesus have to repent of? Nothing. Now the event is definitely historical. How do we know? Well, the Gospel writers would have never invented a story that had Jesus seeming like he needed baptism or putting him in any sort of subordinate position to John. So New Testament scholars say that is 100% an historical event. One possible explanation of why Jesus chose to be baptized is that he meant it as a sign that he was on board with John’s larger mission. He wanted to take his place with the rest of the Jewish people who were following John at the time. In that way, it’s really a radical act of humility on Jesus’s part. Imagine him standing in line waiting to be baptized with everyone else. And it’s another indication of how much God wanted to be with us. At the baptism God stood in line. So how are you called to align yourself with the men, women and children of your time? How are you called to stand with them? Maybe this week you can think of ways of how to stand in solidarity with your brothers and sisters, like Jesus did at the Baptism, especially those who are poor or in any way marginalized.