John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus went to John to be baptised so he must have had something to repent of.

After his baptism, Jesus had a powerful spiritual experience in which God spoke to him.

The baptism & the spiritual experience were separate events. The latter is the main event.

John’s preaching and baptism was based on the assumption of a vassal relationship between God & Israel. God gave them land & a role, on condition that they abided by certain laws. Jesus must have felt that he’d broken them.

Jesus’ spiritual experience inaugurated a quite different relationship between God & humankind, one based on unconditional love, like that of a loving parent to their children.  It undercut the assumptions on which John’s call to repentance were based, and changed everything in our relationship with God.

Jesus ministry was based entirely upon his experience of feeling himself out of relationship with God & needing to repent, and then suddenly finding himself accepted unconditionally by God Who loves & delights in him.  It led him to see that with an unconditionally loving God there are no outsiders, only a human family whom God loves. 

His preaching flows from this experience. He sought to share it by treating other people as God had treated him, a process that would lead over time to His followers believing  that he had ‘incarnated’ God.

The Good News He preached invites us to hear those words “You are my beloved son/daughter in whom I am well pleased” addressed to each of us, and in response to try to live out of it as Jesus did, to incarnate God to others, as he did.

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