Day 297 | Sunday, 10 January 2021
Anxiety has been running high this week. I read these words from the Upper Room yesterday: “Anxiety is a natural response to misfortune and danger. (such as Wednesday) When we hold on to our anxiety and allow it to overwhelm us, fear may keep us form being able to think calmly or trust God.” What do you need to do with your anxiety?
The assigned Scripture readings for this the first Sunday after Epiphany also referred to as the Baptism of the Lord are: Genesis 1:1-5; Psalm 29; Acts 19:1-7 and Mark 1:4-11.
Mark 1:4-11 CEB John’s preaching: 4 John the Baptist was in the wilderness calling for people to be baptized to show that they were changing their hearts and lives and wanted God to forgive their sins. 5 Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. 6 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He announced, “One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worthy to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. 8 I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Jesus is baptized
9 About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. 11 And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”
From the Message
4 John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. 5 People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life.
6 John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey. 7 As he preached, he said, "The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I'm a mere stagehand, will change your life. 8 I'm baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism - a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit - will change you from the inside out." 9 At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God's Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. 11 Along with the Spirit, a voice: "You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."
Just the other day, on Epiphany, we were observing the visit of the Magi to the child Jesus. Four days later the scripture has him being baptized and he is 30 years old. I always wished there was more information about Jesus’ growing up years. I understand that the gospel writers didn’t realize the importance of the historical Jesus until he was dead.
John was preaching about repentance and baptizing followers who listened to his message. “Repentance is not just a feeling of regret but ordering one’s life in such a way as to be acceptable to God.”
“Jesus himself receives baptism by John, thus joining this group of people who have ritually dedicated themselves to righteous living.”
Note the affirmation by the voice from heaven that Jesus is God’s son. Isn’t it also good for us to know that we have been marked by God’s love as his children?
Loving God, thank you for the ministry of John and for baptism that brings us into your family. Today, help us to remember what our baptism has meant for us, a beginning in the journey of faith. Lord, hear our prayers. Amen.
Today: Pray for one whom you know recently baptized and his or her journey in faith.