The Baptism of Our Lord; Year B (1/7/2018)

Lessons:
Genesis 1:1-5
Psalm 29
Acts 19:1-7
St. Mark 1:4-11

Prayer of the Day:
Holy God, creator of light and giver of goodness, your voice moves over the waters. Immerse us in your grace, and transform us by your Spirit, that we may follow after your Son, Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

1.4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

St. Mark 1:4-11 New Revised Version Bible (C)1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.

It’s All About Jesus

In our liturgical calendar, “The Baptism of Our Lord” is celebrated every year on the first Sunday after the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th). It is a day when we remember how Jesus, at the very start of his public ministry, joins the crowds of people who are making their way out into the wilderness to hear John preach.

John is a fiery preacher; and powerfully effective. He helps many people see how their living isn’t what it ought to be, and he challenges them to make things different. Lives are changed because of John’s preaching. People understand what he is saying, and they make the commitment to follow where he is leading them. They walk with him into the waters of the River Jordan. They allow him to dunk them under the surface, symbolically putting to death the life they are leaving behind. And then he raises them up out of the water, symbolically bringing them to a new and more faithful experience of life. In this way, he accomplishes two goals. He convinces them of their sinfulness, and their need for things to be different, and he commits them to repentance and renewal — a life of growing in God’s direction. It is a powerful ministry. It changes many lives. John is immensely popular in his day, and a deeply influential leader in the faith. He is about the most exciting thing going in first century Palestine. (more…)