The Baptism of Jesus

One of the greatest events to occur in relationship to the Jordan River was the baptism of Jesus. The gospel accounts tell us that a dove descended from heaven and hovered over the water as Jesus was baptized. A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased”. (Matthew 3:16).

Many Westerners recognize the dove’s presence as a symbol of God’s presence and approval during the baptism of his Son. In Jesus’ day, people probably saw another level of imagery as well; they recognized the striking similarities between Jesus baptism and the creation of the world:

The Water– Before creation, the water was formless and represented chaos (Genesis 1:2).- During baptism, Jesus descended into the water that represented chaos and death to the ancient world (Matthew 3:16).

The Spirit– At creation, the Spirit hovered and moved over the water (Genesis 1:2).- At Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit of God “represented by the dove” descended upon Jesus (Matthew 3:16).

God’s Approval– After creating the world, God was pleased with the creation (Genesis 1:31).- After Jesus’ baptism, God said that he was pleased with his Son, Jesus (Matthew 3:17).

A New Creation– Out of the void, God made a new world that had never existed before (Genesis 1:3-30). – As Jesus came out of the water, he ushered in a new world order where love and restoration would prevail over evil (Matthew 11:2-6).

Temptation– Satan tempted Adam and Eve soon after creation (Genesis 3:1-7).- Jesus temptation in the wilderness immediately followed his baptism (Matthew 4:1-11).

As they gathered around the Jordan River shore, those watching Jesus’ baptism must have been overwhelmed by the picture God was creating. By mirroring the creation account during Jesus’ baptism, God revealed Jesus’ calling: He was God’s Son, the Messiah, and he was sent to usher in a new order.


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