Baptism of the Lord
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
January 12th was the Feast Day of the Baptism of the Lord. Below is Tintoretto's depiction of Christ's baptism. It's clear that such artists wish to show that Christ's baptism was a cosmological event. Note the heavens riven in two. Note the humility in the posture of Christ. Note the contrast. Note the cataclysm. Note the chaos and apocalyptic imagery, suggesting that this event was not merely a detail in the life of Christ. It was a fulfillment of ages-old prophecy, knowing that Christ himself was taking on the calling Israel as a faithful son, was called out of Egypt and who crossed over the Jordan to fulfilled what God wanted in His people, living under the Law, "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matt. 3:15), being faithfully where Israel had failed. Consider this destructive imagery in light of its typological significance that relates to the great Deluge of Noah's time. Remember that Jesus references baptism as a kind of ritual that involves suffering and the manifestation of one's identity.
For us and our students, this is why baptism is so important. As a sacrament of the church, baptism is a "means of grace" where some "mysterious" happens beyond our scientific understanding. Anthropologically, it has to do with naming and identity. In a world where we are constantly being told, "This is who you are: you are whoever you want to be," baptism is where God tells us, "This is who I am; this is who you are."
Here is the agenda for today.