John the Baptist strikingly proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand. What brings the Kingdom? It happens when the King is present and reigns. One day the King, concealed in ordinary human garb, stands at the Jordan River requesting baptism from John. In this act Jesus takes his place among us all. Though He needed no baptism, we need his baptism. He did not need the water, the water needed Him. When He emerges from the water the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, descends on Jesus. Jesus now enters his ministry of giving that life to others and for others. “I am the Life,” He says. “I have come that they [his sheep] may have life, and have it abundantly.” He will give fullness of life to all who will receive. That life has the power to change our lives. He is the Life of Jesse’s Tree.