Reading for Baptism of Our Lord
Peace be with you!
Most people make resolutions at the beginning of the new year. A lot of people set goals to become healthier by losing weight, eating healthier food, exercising more, or [whatever “it” is] that will make them feel better about themselves. Others set goals to keep in better contact with friends and family members. Many people make their New Year’s resolutions public on Facebook or their blog to get others to hold them accountable to their goals.
In Mark 1:4-11, Jesus goes to John the Baptist to be baptized in the Jordan River. Jesus’s baptism becomes a public proclamation to serve God the Father who sent him to redeem his people. Following his baptism, Jesus begins his public ministry as the Messiah—the Son of God.
John the Baptist proclaims “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4b NRSV). Our acknowledgement of not being worthy without Jesus’s death on the cross is key to being baptized and being in a relationship with the Lord. Left to our own devices, we are not worthy to know the Lord, let alone to be in a relationship with him. John the Baptist does not even feel worthy to baptize Jesus (Mark 1:7), but Jesus humbles himself and allows himself to be baptized.
God the Father also makes a proclamation: “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (Mark 1:11b NRSV). God the Father claims Jesus, expresses his pleasure with him, and through the Holy Spirit promises to work through his ministry. God the Father and Jesus commit to complete their mission to redeem the world. What if we, Christians, made the same commitment to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit? We can renew our own commitment to the Lord by making it a priority to go to church every week, to study the Word of God daily, to pray more, and to share the good news with others. Our relationship with the Lord should be a priority in our lives, and our other resolutions should support it. We should want to become healthier in order to be able to serve the Lord more fully. We should express our love for friends and family in order to serve the Lord. We should take our worries and concerns to God through confession and prayer rather than starting an argument on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. Our relationship with the Lord should take precedence in our lives, transforming our actions to express God’s forgiveness, grace, and love rather than the ways of the world.
Many New Year’s resolutions focus on transforming one’s self to be better. There is no better transformation than committing your life to the Lord through strengthening your relationship with him. By doing so, you will be more conscious of how God’s presence in the world. God has made the resolution to open his heart to everyone through Jesus’s crucifixion, death, and resurrection. Nothing is impossible for God to handle. The world’s promises fade away, but the Triune God stands firm in his promises of forgiveness, grace, love, and eternal life. God is waiting for you to give your life over to him, so he can have an active role in your life. Are you ready for God to transform you?
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for making us worthy to be in a relationship with you. Open our hearts to welcome your presence into our lives. Remind us we can come to you with anything that troubles our hearts. Nothing is too big for you to handle. Thank you for your commitment to be in a relationship with us. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- What are your resolutions for 2015?
- How are you going to recommit yourself to the Lord?
- How has the Lord committed himself to you?