BAPTISM OF JESUS
Jesus' baptism by John was not connected with forgiveness of sins; its purpose was revelatory, that is, Jesus may be made known.
When Jesus was baptized, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming down on him. We have here two very powerful statements which will give us a better understanding of our own baptism: 1) “the heavens opened”. In the Old Testament the heavens were shut right after the Fall of man which was symbolized by Adam and Eve being driven out from the Garden of Eden. And now the heavens had been opened once again. When we were baptized, the heavens were opened to welcome us unto the home of our Father. Becoming a child of God after we were baptized, we become heirs of the Kingdom as St. Paul reminds us. 2) “the Spirit of God descending like a dove”. The dove was used here as a symbol of new life. In the Old Testament, after the flood during the time of Noah, the dove was a powerful symbol used by the author to symbolize new life. The dove in the story of Jesus’ baptism points to the role of the Holy Spirit in our own baptism. When we were baptized, we entered into a new life in the Spirit as St. Paul reminds us.
In the Baptism of Jesus and later on during the Transfiguration, we encounter the concrete audible manifestation of the Father. Then the voice of the Father was heard “This is my Son, my Beloved; my favor rests on him.” The Father’s voice was the “Confirmation” of Jesus just like our own confirmation after we receive our baptism.
But the voice of the Father was not just addressed to Jesus but also to all his children. When we were baptized, God the Father claimed us as his children.
After our baptism we entered into a Trinitarian life: we live a life of the Spirit, we become bearers of Christ and children of God the Father. This is why at the baptism of Jesus, the Trinity made manifest himself to the people to remind us of this beautiful truth: we are the children of God and we are his beloved!