This is the week that Jesus grows up.
Last week we celebrated the Epiphany and this coming Sunday we mark his baptism – around his thirtieth year!
What happened in those years through childhood and adolescence? We’d love to know. The gospels don’t give us very much info compared to his birth or his last three years of life.
A few years I had a small revelation about this.
I grew up holding the thought that Jesus somehow knew innately his divine identity, his prophetic identity, and his messianic identity. If he was the Son of God, how could he not know?
My revelation came from meditating on the incarnation – God choosing to dwell as one of us in Jesus – and from being a parent.
If God truly and freely chose to inhabit the limitations of human life, then that means ALL our limitations – including those of identity.
Caring for a brand new infant as a new Dad really impressed upon me how limited we are: at birth we don’t innately know who we are, we don’t innately know how we relate to others, we don’t even know the nature of our own bodies (we ‘discover’ that we have hands we can control!)
And so, if God entered our limitations in Jesus, then Jesus did not know innately who he was, but, like all of us, grew to discern his identity throughout his growing up.
With this mindset, his baptism by John in the Jordan becomes the moment when all things come together for him. “You are my son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” This pronouncement is perhaps the moment when Jesus came to know, came to receive, the fullness of God’s purposes in him. I suspect he had inklings before, but his baptism was the moment of vision and clarity.
Sunday we will share in a “Renewal of Baptism” to mark Jesus’ baptism. We will be invited to hear again those words applied to us: “You are my child, my beloved, with you I am well pleased.” It is this Love that sends us into our own life-service.
What have been the moments of vision and clarity for you – moments when all things came together and you perhaps also received a confirmation of God’s love for you?
What has been your journey of identity discovery? Does this help you understand what it might have been for Jesus?
Speaking of identity, is not one of our most formative times those few years after high school? We will have on Sunday Rev. Sarah Holmstrom preaching – she is our newly-minted University Chaplain based at the U of A. We look forward to hearing about this great diocesan ministry. Some of you might have helped June Greig make cookies in the fall to support their Sunday night “Worship Room” initiative.
Check them out before: https://www.anglicanstudentministry.ca/about-us