Hymns & Songs

At the river Jordan

Jan 2012    

When Jesus Came To Jordan

When Jesus came to Jordan To be baptised by John,
He did not come for pardon But as his Father’s Son.
He came to share repentance With all who mourn their sins, To speak the vital sentence With which good news begins

He came to share temptation, Our utmost woe and loss, For us and our salvation To die upon the cross.
So when the Dove descended On him, the Son of Man, e hidden years had ended, The age of grace began.

Come, Holy Spirit, aid us To keep the vows we make, is very day invade us, And every bondage break. Come, give our lives direction, e gift we covet most:
To share the resurrection at leads to Pentecost.

Text: Fred Pratt Green, 1973 (Mt. 3:13-17; Mk. 1:9-11; Lk. 3:21-22)
Music: Attr. To William Walker, 1835; harm. By Carlton R. Young 1988

JOHN THE BAPTIST preached a “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins”. Jesus did not need to repent, nor did he need to be washed or cleansed for he was a sinless man. He came to John to be baptised as he acknowledged His humanity. But even deeper was His coming to die on the cross and bring salvation to all humankind.

Fred Pratt Green beautifully connects Jesus’ baptism and the cross in stanza two. John the Baptist enlightens us with his words as he identifies Jesus as the saviour of the world in the Gospel of John: “ e next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! is is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

John 1:29-31 (NIV).

Reflecting on the first two stanzas, we are led to think about the significance of our own baptism.

Through our baptism we have been received into the community of faith and become part of the body of Christ. Hence, we receive the gift of our identity as Christians. Having this identity has deeper implications and responsibilities. In our baptismal covenant, we pledged to go against the evil powers of this world and serve Jesus Christ as our Saviour. Together with the congregation, we are to nurture one another in the Christian faith. Further, we carry a mission to be faithful disciples and witnesses of the Gospel of Christ.

In the third stanza, we look ahead and ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand the vows we made. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us and help us uphold a discerning spirit so that we may know which directions to take in reliving our baptismal vows.

Judith Mosomos is a Lecturer in Church Music at the Methodist School of Music.

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