Matthew 3:13—17 13. Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15. Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16. 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 lighting on him. 17. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”. Reflection by Darlene Wagner
Here, Jesus shows the richness of symbolism in baptism. It doesn’t matter whether John immersed Jesus beneath the water or sprinkled him with his head above the water. Either way foreshadowed the Christ’s redemptive power. Baptism by sprinkling symbolizes cleansing by the blood shed on the Cross. Baptism by immersion symbolizes Christ’s burial and resurrection. The power of baptism becomes more evident in the unfolding vision. The Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove and the Father of Heaven speaks. (It seems that only Jesus saw the dove and heard the voice, but I could be mistaken.) In any case, this vision is widely regarded as a manifestation of the Trinity. The vision also foreshadows the Christ’s ascension into Heaven.
Invocation: I open up my heart to you, All-Father, Great Lord Christ, and Comforter! Praise be your name, O triune God! Accept my humble offerings I set, O Holy One! Be present at this table I have set; Renew your closeness with me, this I pray.