Tag Archives: Matthew 3:13-17


The Baptism of Jesus

13 Jesus left Galilee and went to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John kept objecting and said, “I ought to be baptized by you. Why have you come to me?”

15 Jesus answered, “For now this is how it should be, because we must do all that God wants us to do.” Then John agreed.

16 So Jesus was baptized. And as soon as he came out of the water, the sky opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down on him like a dove. 17 Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.”

What are you doing here? Why have you come to me Jesus?

What can I do for you?

You are the one – I should be coming to you. I am nothing but a signpost to you – you are everything.

You want me to baptize you?  When you are the one?  You have done nothing that needs repenting of.

But if that is what you need me to do, let’s do it.  God knows what is right.

And then it became clear.  This was the opening, the start, the beginning of something new.  God is here in you.

With a voice for all to hear – you are his son, here to do his work.  God is good.

You don’t want to do that


“You don’t wanna do that” became the catch phrase of Harry Enfield’s character on his show, Harry Enfield’s Television Programme.  But it’s pretty much the phrase John uses to Jesus in this reading.


John has been bringing the message of forgiveness, and baptising those who wanted to receive that forgiveness.  He has just finished telling them that someone more powerful is coming – and here he is.

Jesus comes to John to be baptised.  But John will have none of it – ‘You don’t want to do that Jesus’.

John knows who Jesus is, he has known it since before he was born.  So he also knows that Jesus has nothing to seek forgiveness for.  He is God’s son, born of Mary who gave us so much to bring him into the world, and his is living God’s life now.  John feels unworthy, and he thinks it is inappropriate.


But Jesus knows it is important.  If he was coming to identify with humanity, he had to start where they were, and where they were was in the river being baptised.  Jesus came to enter fully into human life.  He didn’t have to, but he chose to.  He wanted to be where we would be, to feel what we would feel, to know how it was to live a human life – and to live God’s life in it.

Jesus came to be with ordinary people.  That is what pleased God.  He was not with those sat in the Temple thinking they had it all right, but with the ordinary man and woman who knew where they were and what they’d got wrong.

Today he still walks with the ordinary man and woman.  He comes where he is needed.  He’ll get in the water with us, and not shy away.  And he wants to do it.

The river at Yardent, “close to where Jesus was baptised”

Thank you Jesus

that you came into the world.

Thank you that you didn’t sit in palaces or places that others deemed “holy”,

but that you came to the reality of life.

Thank you for being willing to do that,

to go against what people expected of you,

to do the thing that needed doing.

May I make room for you

in my ordinary life.