Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we will be holding 10:30 worship and all programming online rather than in person.
You can stay up to date with Fairmont’s plans for moving forward by clicking HERE. Thank you for your patience and compassion, and for being the body of Christ.
Traditional Worship Service – 10:30am, Livestream
Reflection on Scripture
The story tantalizes us with questions just beyond our grasp. Why does Jesus get baptized? What exactly is John doing out there? What is the relationship between sin, redemption, and baptism? And what does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Spirit? Mark, in its spare narrative, leaves us wondering and watching.
The practice of ritual immersion in Judaism (Mikvah) is meant to remove ritual impurity, those normal biological functions that would prevent one from being permitted to enter the temple. Most people in first century Palestine would have spent most of their lives in a state of ritual impurity. The exception would be the priests and the Levites who worked in the Temple. So, if Jesus is not going into the temple, what is going on?
The truth is, I do not know. If I needed to understand baptism before I got baptized, it never would have happened. I rather doubt that it is about our understanding at all. John never asks Jesus anything at all about his intentions or his faith. Jesus just shows up. The only voice is the proclamation God declaring that Jesus is not merely some Nazarene peasant. He is now much more. He is God’s son, the Beloved, in whom God is well pleased. God is doing the doing of baptism. And if God is the subject of Baptism for Jesus, then maybe he is also for us.
In our Reformed tradition, we baptize babies. Babies do not understand baptism. Babies cannot confess their faith in Jesus. Quite to the contrary, babies are completely dependent on outside care and love. And that is the point we are trying to emphasize. Baptism is not meant to be a recognition that we have done the right things or believe the right things. Baptism is not about us saying yes, or anything else, to God. Rather the exact opposite is going on. In baptism God is saying yes to us. In baptism God is expressing faith in us. In baptism God is claiming us. If we had to wait around until we understood what was going on, we would need to wait a very long time. If we had to wait until we had sufficient faith to both understand and then affirm God, we would have to wait even longer.
God claims Jesus. God claims us. The formal recognition of that claiming is baptism. And it is all motivated out of God’s boundless, inscrutable love we call grace.