“Moment of Truth”
Baptism of the Lord
Matthew 3:13-17 (New Revised Standard Version)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
The word “epiphany” has two meanings. One meaning is to “show forth” or “manifest.” An “epiphany” can also be a sudden realization or significant insight.
- According to both Mark and Matthew, when Jesus was baptized in the River Jordan by John, the moment he came up out of the water, Jesus saw the Holy Spirit come down from heaven and alight upon him.
- Matthew wants to communicate that this was an epiphany. It was a sudden realization or deep insight, a moment of truth, for Jesus.
- As Matthew sees it, it was not until the moment of his baptism that Jesus realized the magnitude of being the Son of God.
In the moment of an epiphany, whether coming forward to join a church or be confirmed or be immersed or anything else visible to the outside world, but rather, from the feeling itself, in the depths of the heart, the person knows unmistakably that he or she is a beloved child of God.
- We can’t ever quite comprehend what an epiphany that must have been for Jesus. But we can see that from that moment on, he was fully engaged in the work of his heavenly father. He gave himself over completely to teaching people how to live, to responding to people with compassion, to healing them, forgiving them, and calling forth their faith.
None of us can completely know or comprehend another’s personal, particular epiphany. But we can see the results of those moments.
- God desires our honor, our adoration, our homage, our worship first and foremost. Then, and only then, can we truly give our other gifts over to the work of the Lord.
Think about a time in your life, one moment that stands out above all the rest, in which you might say that you saw the heavens open up and the Holy Spirit of God descend upon you, like a dove. Is there such a moment? Is there a time of which you would say, “This, above all others, was the definitive moment of truth for my entire life?”