Family service: Baptism of Christ

Stuff needed: Fishbowl with water, sponge, plastic toy, cup, bath bomb, and a table to put them on.

It wasn’t long ago that we were celebrating Jesus being born, and now, today we are remembering his baptism, but Jesus isn’t a baby in this story from his life, he is an adult, and he has come into the desert, into the wilderness to his cousin John, who we know a John the Baptist to be baptised.

Now, I hope you were all listening to our gospel story, because I’m going to ask you some questions later, but first, I want you to think a little bit about water.

Water is a really interesting substance, because it reacts with things differently.

Like these bits here, (sponge, cup, plastic toy) other than getting them a bit wet, there is no long lasting effect.

But some things are drastically changed by water.

We need water to live. Around 60% of our bodies are made of water. And plants also need water to live. What happens to a plant when you don’t water it??

It goes brown and crispy and dies.

There are other things that react dramatically to water. Take this (bathbomb) when I drop this in the water it fizzes and changes the colour of the water, and there is nothing you can do to change it. It’s changed forever!

Now water has an important role to play at this stage of Jesus’ life.

Remind me, who did Jesus go to see in the desert? John the Baptist.

And John had been telling people that they needed to change their lives, he showed people that by the things they were doing wrong, they were making themselves dirty and separating themselves from God.

And so he helped them to say sorry and to become joined to God by taking them into the river to show that they wanted God to wash away the things that separated them from God.

And one day, John saw Jesus coming, and John knew who Jesus was, he knew he was God’s Son, and that Jesus was much more powerful that John could ever be. John said that he isn’t worthy even to undo Jesus sandals and that when Jesus came, he wouldn’t just baptise with water, but that people would be baptised with the Holy Spirit as well.

And that’s what happened. Our gospel said that when they’d all been baptised, Jesus as well, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended from heaven, and a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the beloved; with you I am well pleased’.

And we hear something similar from our Old Testament reading today for us, when the Lord says

I have called you by name, you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

… you are precious in my sight,… I love you.
The baptism of Jesus is important because it shows us not just how important Jesus is, but how important we are too. We share in the baptism of Christ, so that we are baptised not just in water but also by the Holy Spirit, and that through this act, we too belong and are joined to God. And we are changed, like this (referring back to the bath bomb) forever.


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Minor Canon Youth Chaplain at St Albans Cathedral. Dog owner, historian, technology geek, pilgrim.

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