When we look at the scene of the baptism of Jesus as depicted by Christian artists the important figures seem to be Jesus, John the Baptist and the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove. The paintings all emphasize the intimate relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Recently, another Columban priest and I were sharing our opinions on various matters including the baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan. We decided that Jesus was not alone in being baptized that day but one among a number of people as baptism was always a community activity at that time.
In verse 19 of the 28th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel we hear the resurrected Jesus telling the disciples to “go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. He directs them to baptize people of all races. They were not to make distinctions between people’s culture, language, skin color, education, status, gender, etc. God’s salvation was not to be the exclusive possession of any particular race or nation as the Gospel is inclusive of everyone.
When we receive baptism, God clothes us with His love.
The author is a member of the Missionary Society of St. Columban. Columban Missionaries in Korea provided this update.