Baptism now saves you, St Peter tells us.

We have barely got used to the idea that the Magi came to see the baby (or possinly toddler) Jesus, and thanks to Herod the Holy Family had to flee into exile in Egypt, when we come to the Baptism of Our Lord.

From His Baptism Jesus heads off to the desert for forty days and meets The Accuser.

A long time ago I sat in a tent to hear a speaker, who got up and pompously spoke about how unlike those other dark-reasoned Christians (and he particularly disliked Catholics) he, would not allow his child to be baptised but would do it “the way Jesus did.”

If I had been more on-tthe-ball I mighthave jumped up and pointed out that Jesus never did it. He never baptised anyone. But I didn’t.

I think this man had confused the baptism of John with the Trinitarian baptism Jesus asked His apostles to perform just before He ascended to heaven. They obeyed Him and that included baptising those they found who had only received the baptism of John. That baptism was purely symbolic, but the baptism of Christ gives actual Grace, as St Peter tells the Church (1Pet 3:21) Baptism now saves you.

John’s baptism didn’t save. It was pre-Covenantal as Jesus hadn’t yet begun His ministry,let alone established the New Covenant in His Blood. So what was the point in all those people walking into the Jordan and getting wet?

John was turning people around, making crooked moral paths straight and preparing the way for Jesus to lead the people to salvation. John called people to repentance, so those who received his baptism had to have reason enough to understand they needed to repent of actual sins.

I am not sure about this, but I think it is reasonable to say that John’s baptism did not effect Original Sin because it did not save. Jesus is the Second Adam, and it is only through Him and His saving action that we can receive a baptism that returns the Grace lost through Adam’s sin.

Certianly John’s baptism prefigures  Christian baptism, but it is not the same. St Luke in Acts tells us that whole families were baptised and brought into the Church, whereas we are not given that impression or information about John’s baptism, which is portrayed more as individuals making a symbolic gesture of repentance for actual sin. Christ’s baptism is the rite into the New Covenant as circumcision of 8 day old boys was for the Old Covenant. Now anyone can be baptised.

I think there’s a lot about Christian baptism replacing circumsion and us being children of the Eighth Day that I could go into – but perhaps at a later time.

Get my Little Lesson on Jesus being baptised by John

And Life of Christ cards from That Resource Site Mother


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