by Cyd Holsclaw
In preparation for Epiphany, I recently re-read Ancient Future Time, by the late Robert Webber:
“In our spiritual pilgrimage God calls us to break through a passive spirit concerning the baptism of Jesus and recover the full meaning of this event for our own spirituality… It defines our spirituality and gives impetus to the kind of people we are to become.”
The baptism of Jesus is anything but passive. The heavens open… the Spirit descends. Since the building of the temple, God has made Himself known in a specific place to a select few Levite priests. But at Jesus’ baptism, we see God breaking out of heaven, and breaking into the world. A barrier is torn.
This is both a threat and a promise. It’s a threat because God is no longer contained, safely tucked away in the holy of holies. We don’t keep Him in a building on Sundays and visit Him. In Jesus’ baptism, everything has changed. He visits us where we are. The old rules are re-made. We are on unfamiliar ground. This new beginning threatens to overhaul all of the old ways. Faith is no longer predictable or formulaic. In the person of Jesus Christ, God is at loose in the world!
But it’s also a promise. God’s final act of salvation is here. God is breaking Satan’s dominion over the earth. This is a cosmic event! Christ is prepared to do battle with the spiritual realm. Jesus is ‘possessed’ by the Holy Spirit and driven into the wilderness as a precursor to his ministry of ‘re-possessing’ those held captive by the enemy. God breaks into places of captivity with the power to set free. God is at loose in the world. How is this event defining my spirituality and shaping the person I am to become?
Cyd Holsclaw is married to Geoff and spends much of her time homeschooling their two boys. She is a part of the leadership team at Life on the Vine in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.