Saturday, January 10, 2015

(After) The Baptism of Jesus

8"x10" Oil on Panel
with Palette Knife

This weekend, many christians will reflect on the baptism of Jesus. So I thought I'd do a little reflection of Jesus and baptism. This painting is based on the story according to the Gospel of Mark:

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.

The painting is an exploration of the latter part of the story. After Jesus was baptized, and the spectacle of the Holy Spirit, what happens next is quite like a parable. After the baptism, there were no celebrations, no baptismal certificates, no luncheons with family and friends. After Jesus' baptism, the Holy Spirit (who had just come down like a dove and rested on Jesus) lead him into the wilderness for 40 days of solitude and fasting. 

This painting depicts that moment where Jesus steps out of the water and walks off the stage, soaking wet, with only the Spirit to guide him. If we really think about our life after baptism, Jesus' experience doesn't seem all that uncommon. After we are baptized, there is still a life of suffering, journeying, temptation and uncertainty. But, like Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit as our companion and guide. Together with the Spirit, we face the wilderness head on.—walking wet with the water of our calling. 


  1. Beautiful painting, Mike. The commentary is well written and I love the last line.