The religous experiences of Jesus
An extract from the Dean's sermon for the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus on Sunday, 13 January 2019.
The baptism of Jesus is not simply a moment of transition in his adult life nor is it simply a reminder that Jesus was an active participant in the normal rituals of the Jewish religion in Palestine in his time. The baptism of Jesus is also a story that invites us to recognise that Jesus had his own authentic personal religious experiences.
That may be something about which we have not thought very much.
We might have the unexamined assumption in the back of our minds that Jesus maintained a continuous conversation between himself and God the Father as he went through each day. However, that is probably not a helpful way to understand the humanity of Jesus and the mystery of his vocation as the human face of God.
Like all of us, Jesus would have developed a sense of awe in the face of the mystery of existence and like some of us he came to understand that the sacred dimension of life could best be understood as the God calls us into being and invites us into the future.
Just as we each have to discover our own vocation and calling, so Jesus had to grow in his understanding of himself and of what faithfulness to God was going to mean for him in his own unique particularity.
In other words, Jesus had a spiritual life and this included moments of religious experience.
The full text of this sermon with video links is available online.