Today’s devotion, both for the Jesse Tree and readings in One Bread, One Body, point us to the joy and necessity of repentance. One of the foremost icons of repentance is John the Baptist: Mark 1:1-8.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ [the Son of God]. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way. A voice of one crying out in the desert:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.’
John [the] Baptist appeared in the desert proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. People of the whole Judean countryside and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the Jordan River as they acknowledged their sins. John was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He fed on locusts and wild honey. And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the holy Spirit.”
Jesus Himself submitted to the baptism of John the Baptist in the Jordan. Although He was without sin, His actions identify Him more closely with us.