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The Baptism of the Lord

Mark was the first to write a gospel and to use the this term meaning “Good News. ” He writes succinctly and states his purpose immediately: “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mark 1:1)

He selects the baptism of Jesus as the starting point of his narrative. This is in contrast to the other evangelists. Matthew recounts the origins and conception of Jesus and the visit of the Wise Men, the Epiphany, which proclaims the infant in the manger as the King of the Jews. Luke tells the stories of the Annunciation, the Visitation, the angelic message to the shepherds and the prophetic words of Simeon and Anna in the Temple to reveal the identity of Jesus, while John goes back to the beginning of time when ”The Word was with God” (John 1:1)

Mark makes the character of John the Baptist his mouthpiece for introducing the person of Jesus: “Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandal. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit” (Mark 1:7-9). Undoing the strap of a sandal was a task assigned to a slave. Mark in using this imagery stresses the role and importance of Jesus. The brevity of his description of the baptism of Jesus creates a picture that is full of meaning. Jesus, as he emerged from the water, had undergone a change, like all the other followers of John. Unlike them, he had no need of repentance, for he was sinless, but he was moving on from the simple life of being the village carpenter in Nazareth, to his public ministry. The voice of the Father acclaiming him as the Beloved and the Spirit descending on him prepared him for the path which lay ahead.