Three of our five children are adopted. From the moment Bob and I learned of their existence, we knew they were ours. We prayed and anxiously awaited the day when we could welcome them physically into our family. Only as a mother longs to hold her own child did I long to embrace my babies. The bond of parent and child strengthened after they were each home with us. But it wasn’t until their final adoption that it became official, for on that day they took on the name of Perron – our name.
John felt unworthy when Jesus came to him to be baptized. But Jesus reassured him and said, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Until that time, no other Jew had ever been baptized. Jews only baptized those who were converting into their Jewish faith. Those converting needed to be baptized because they were sinners and needed to be cleansed. Jesus committed no sin, so why did He feel He needed to be baptized? At the moment of His baptism, He took on the sins of the world and claimed them, knowing that in doing so He would pay the price for all of them on the cross. Up until the moment of Jesus’ baptism, only a few knew or suspected that He was the Son of God. But once He emerged from the water, “The heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.'” God the father claimed Jesus as His Son for all to hear, just as we claimed our children in the courtroom on their final adoption day.
The second reading states that after the baptism, John preached that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power.” Paul talks about this in Romans 8:15-17, “For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you received a spirit of adoption through which we cry, ‘Abba Father!’ The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.” It says in Ephesians 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love, he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will.” We were predestined to be adopted by Him. We were His, just as our children were ours even before they shared our name. We are baptized “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.” Therefore, baptism is like our final adoption. We are all brothers and sisters in Christ.