Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
The people, I read, "mused," wondering if John were the expected Messiah. John, too, mused, we may be sure. "Words! words! words!" at the end of each long sultry day, as he laid him down in some rocky cave what time the sun sank suddenly and the stars hung like balls of fire in the purple sky, and the cry of the wild beast was heard as he stole forth to drink at the fords of the Jordan. ' I can baptize them with water. I can tell them to repent. Poor forlorn sheep upon the mountains — where shall they find their shepherd? I am the voice crying in the wilderness — where is the Divine Prophet? I baptize with water — who will give them the fiery baptism of the soul? Who will help them to seek, and nerve them to act? "And then came One on a certain still morn, early, it may be, before the heat of the day, with only a few zealous stragglers about, waiting for baptism, and John met Him by the Jordan river. Needless to explain. Soul met soul. John knew his Master as surely as did frail Peter when he cried out, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man"; or doubting Thomas when, heart-struck, he murmered, "My Lord, and my God!" "I have need," were John's first words — yea, we all have need face to face with Jesus — "I have need to be baptized of Thee." And then came the first words of Christ's ministry, they struck the keynote of the gospel, "Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." The heart of Christianity lies there; Christ the Companion of man, the Example of man. The Saviour, because the revelator of a Divine union between God and man, a spiritual life in man. And on the morrow the Baptist saw Him walking by the river, and pointing Him out, exclaimed, "Behold the Lamb of God!" &c. Message to the Ages! Call to every Pilgrim of the night! Be of good cheer, thy help is nigh. God in Christ is your Saviour, because Christ in human nature means Christ in you, the Divine power revealed in every man, as he is able to receive and use it. Let that vision remain with us. Blessed gleam of the morning light I Behold Jesus going down into the Jordan to be baptized, one with us, never more to be separated from us — Great Elder Brother, dear Friend! Close to us in the waters of purification, close to us in the burden and heat of the day, close to us in the shadow of our Gethsemane, close to us in the Calvary of our pain, the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.
(H. R. Haweis, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,