Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sunday - Baptism -- a time of great love

Today in the Lectionary Readings,  the Gospel lesson is the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.  
Baptism is one of two sacraments within the Presbyterian Church.  (The other sacrament is  the Lord's  Supper).   Baptism  is  a sacrament that  is a public symbol of God's  great love for us.  We are baptized to newness in Christ.  We leave our old life behind and set our sites on new life in Christ.   A cleansing.   Baptism uses water as a symbol of this cleansing.

Matthew 3: 13 - 17

John the Baptist  baptized  the repentance of sins....  and forgiveness of sins... and returning to God.    John is baptizing and suddenly before him is Jesus.  Now  tradition states that John and Jesus were cousins.   They obviously knew each other as John kinda gulps and says, "But I am not worthy to baptize you... I need to be baptized by You!"      And Jesus replied, that  John had to baptize  Jesus  to fulfill all righteousness.   To fulfill all righteousness.    This kind of language isn't used anymore in our normal speech is it.  But you can hear the holiness in these words can' t you.   to fulfill all righteousness.
Then as Jesus was baptized,  the heavens opened and a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son,  whom I love,  with him I am well pleased".   Okay,  if I was John I would be on the ground curled up in the fetal position.   Or perhaps  just standing frozen with jaw dropping.   This was a confirmation  that  Jesus was  God's  son.   And John was called to be part of the ministry.  How neat is that.  
Today as we attend Church,  give thanks to God for this time of cleansing and making all things new.  Remember your own baptism.

Prayer:  Great God,  we thank You that  You provide for us times of cleansing -- of leaving our old lives and thoughts behind and making all things new.  We thank You that You forgive us.  May we remember this day our own baptism and Your great love to us always.  Amen.

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