Mark’s account of Jesus’ baptism is spare. But there is this: Jesus is baptized in a river, in the wilderness. The baptisms where I preside have been relatively tame. Still, the danger of the river is present.
It’s an intrinsic part of Matthew’s story of the wise men that even Gentiles come to bow down before the king of the Jews—but these aren’t the sort of next-door Gentiles who came to Judea to help out with the wheat harvest.
Luke’s first two chapters are a metaphorical retirement home for elders who are “looking forward to the consolation of Israel.” Then, in a sudden swirl of events, God gathers these aging people into the drama of salvation.