“A voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.”

Mark 1:11

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Mark 1:7-11

This is a pivotal moment in the life of Jesus. In one sense, he comes to his cousin John perhaps seeking a rite of transition from his hidden life into his public life. He does not need baptism as he is without sin, but he chooses to come. It may have been a daunting moment knowing that the time of his secluded life has come to an end. He now needs to live publicly as Son of God, an identity he has grown in awareness of.

As he comes out of the water, there is a visible and audible sign confirming his identity as Son of God. The descent of the Holy Spirit and the voice from heaven. This must have been a profound moment of consolation and strengthening for Jesus, who may have remembered it many times in his ministry. He now knows beyond a shadow of a doubt who he is.

Perhaps until that moment of affirmation, he would not have been ready to begin his public ministry. There have already been a few moments in scripture that affirmed Jesus’ special identity in some way – the annunciation to Mary, the presentation in the temple when Simeon and Anna recognise him, and to some degree the time when he was a young boy in the temple in Jerusalem. But for the most part, he probably had lived most of his thirty years grappling alone in prayer with the emerging awareness of who he was. So, this moment is a significant moment of grace and affirmation.

Are there key moments in my life where affirmation and grace have confirmed God loves me? And I am living my true calling?

Gracious God,

As we pray the story of the Baptism of Jesus, may we recognise the profound significance of this moment in confirming his identity and calling as Son of God.


Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell

Dr Annemarie Paulin-Campbell has worked in the area of Ignatian Spirituality for 19 years and heads up the work of the Jesuit Institute School of Spirituality. Her primary focus is the training and supervision of spiritual directors and the giving of retreats. She is also a registered Psychologist and her PhD focused on the interface between Christian Spirituality and Psychology. Annemarie is an editorial advisor to “The Way” journal of Spirituality and has authored a number of articles relating to the training of Spiritual Directors in an African context. She has contributed to several books, most recently co-authoring a book of Lenten Reflections: “Long Journey to the Resurrection”. She has contributed to international conferences and consultations in Spirituality in the United Kingdom; the United States; Rome; Spain, Ethiopia, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

a.paulin-campbell@jesuitinstitute.org.za @annemariepc_c
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