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Luke 3:15-17, 21-22, Baptism of the Lord (First Sunday after Epiphany)

Key Verse

As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
— Luke 3:16-17

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, January 13, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

Baptism 2019

Main Idea: Baptism offers a new life.

The people in the wilderness following John were looking for something. They were living in a land now occupied by Rome, and they were limited in what they could do and say. Their freedom was precarious, and their voices were unheard. It’s no surprise they flocked to the wilderness to hear the words of God’s prophets, hoping to hear something that would give them hope for a better life.

I am forever searching for a new life. It’s not that my life is so awful – it’s just that I can envision it could be so much more. I watch the celebrities with their millions of dollars and wish I could have enough money to do all the things I want. I watch teenagers come and go from my home and wish I could have no responsibilities save a little school work. I never seem to be satisfied, always wishing for a life that’s not mine.

This account of Jesus’ baptism includes all of the baptismal promises of new life. What happened in Jesus’ baptism is just what happens to us when we are baptized. First, the heavens are ripped open – a rending of the barrier that separated people from God. Second, the Holy Spirit descended upon him. Next, God claimed Jesus as God’s own. Finally, Jesus is ready to minister in the cold, harsh world, but fully equipped to face the hardships that may come. The first Christian baptism.

Baptism offers new life. But not the kind I think I want. The kind of new life baptism offers is already mine. But I resist claiming it. This new life offers death to sin. But I still cling to my sin, reluctant to let it go. This new life offers peace, joy, and love. But I keep searching for peace, joy, and love in shiny new things, new relationships, and new locations. How difficult it is for me to let go of the old life and accept the new! What might it take for me to surrender to the new life offered in baptism?

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Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 (NRSV)

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Earlier Event: January 12
1 Corinthians 2:11-16, The Spiritual Path
Later Event: January 14
Ephesians 6:10-17, The Armor of God