In some traditions, baptism is done near the entrance to the church. We often read the story of John the Baptist dipping Jesus beneath the Jordan around the time we enter into a new year. If baptism is a door, what lies on the other side? John the Baptist is at the door of the wilderness. Jesus needs to be baptized by him so that he can enter into the wilderness and a forty-day period of spiritual reflection and transition.
John is startled by Jesus asking to be baptized.
“Do it, John,” Jesus says. “I want to get on with what’s next.”
So, it happens that Jesus enters through his baptism into a time of fasting and prayer. Then he exits out to do his teaching ministry around Galilee. Then he enters into Jerusalem and is baptized again. This time by suffering on the cross. From there he enters into hell and sets loose those who were held captive. Then on Easter he exits by way of the resurrection.
This is a road map for us. There will be times when some type of baptism sets us on a new course in life. We, like Jesus will rise and fall. We all will from time to time suffer. As we do, we should remember that Jesus walked a similar journey. You, too, will pass through the shadow of death. Do not be afraid. You will rise with Jesus. As we have be baptized in a baptism like his, so too, we shall rise with a resurrection like his.