Jesus begins his ministry with his baptism by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. Baptism is a sacrament which washes away both original and personal sin. Why would Jesus, who is without any sin, need to be baptized? Jesus' primary mission is to bring salvation and forgiveness of sin to his followers. He teaches us the importance of baptism by being baptized himself. He also sanctifies the water giving it healing powers.
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mat 3:13)
This passage in scripture shows us the relationship of the Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are all present to officially begin the ministry of Jesus. When disciples of Jesus are baptized, we are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is considered the gateway to heaven. In Mat 28: 16 Jesus commissions his disciples. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Let us reflect on the words of St. Ambrose as we celebrate the feast day of The Baptism of Our Lord.
The Lord was Baptized, not to be cleansed Himself, but to cleanse the waters, so that those waters, cleansed by the flesh of Christ which knew no sin, might have the power of Baptism. St. Ambrose