The Baptism of Jesus

The Baptism of Jesus could be considered the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. This is where Jesus approaches John the Baptist, his cousin, in the Jordan river, and requests John to baptize him. Upon his baptism, the clouds open up, and the Spirit of God descends on him in the form of a dove. God’s voice can be heard condoning the baptism, saying “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:9-11).

There is a lot going on in this verse. The baptism. The clouds. The voice. The dove. So we played through this with a little sensory bin.

Sensory Bin

We simply reenacted this story using a sensory bin. I thought of using a water table, but when you’re actually immersing people under water, I didn’t want the toddlers to get the wrong idea and “baptize” each other.

Instead we used a rice bin.

What you need:

  • Blue Rice
  • Peg people or other figures to represent Jesus and John
  • Toy Dove or Oragami Paper Dove (See Below)

What you do:

Simply pour rice into a bin. Add people, and dove. Reenact story and allow free play.

Oragami Dove

This super simple oragami dove is perfect for building fine-motor skills in elementary-aged children (and I know some of you all have older ones playing along as well. I learned how to make this super simple bird when I was in high school, but used this tutorial I found on Pinterest as a refresher. All you need is a square sheet of paper.

  1. Fold paper upward diagonally, then open back up.
  2. Fold diagonally in the other direction.
  3. Fold triangle in half so that the point overlaps the longest side.
  4. Fold the point back over so it, again over laps the opposite side.
  5. Open the triangle to make a diamond.
  6. Fold figure in half.
  7. Fold wings down and flip shape over.
  8. Fold down beak.

The Significance of the Baptism

To be honest, the Baptism of Jesus has always baffled me. Isn’t the point of baptism to signify our death to (repentance of) sin, and our choice to walk in a resurrected life. Jesus knew no sin. What did he have to repent of? I love what David Guzik has to say in his commentary:

Jesus didn’t have to be baptized. He also didn’t have to die on a cross in our place. He did both things to express His solidarity with fallen man.

It’s like what Paul says in Hebrews, “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize…” (Hebrews 4:15). Christ empathized with our need for repentance, and so he took on the act of repentance. He was God coming down to be one of us, to identify with us, so that he could atone for us (John 1:14). And when the sky opened up, we see that Jesus is the son, the image of God, God with us.

Reflect on this today, friend:

God empathizes with you. He knows our struggles, and he has come to be in our struggles with us. Whether you’re losing at potty training…or your overwhelmed with colic…or begging those dishes to just clean themselves…whatever your battle, know that God came to be in that with you. He didn’t have to. He chose to, because he love you. You are loved.

How have you played through this story with your littles? Comment below!

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