Breaking Open The Scriptures
Scriptures for January 10th – Isaiah 43:1-7, Psalm 29, Acts 8:14-17, Luke 3:15-17,21-22
Songs: I Was There to Hear you Borning Cry – TFWS 2051; Wade in the Water TFWS 2107; Spirit Song UMH 347
Isaiah This scripture is a word of comfort for the exiles. They have been taken from their land, but are about to return. They are frightened because there is not a lot of them – they as a people feel that they have no power. The prophet reminds them that no matter how small they may be, they are still God’s people and God has a plan for them. They will succeed in returning as the remnant of God’s people to carry on the work of God. We read this on baptism Sunday, because in order to return home the people have to go through the desert, over a river with no bridge, and through the wilderness. In the midst of their trials, they are reminded that God is there. God will carry them through the time of trial to a better time.
Luke By this time we should be very familiar with John the Baptist. We have heard about the response to his ministry of repentance. It would be easy for people to feel that John is the messiah and that he is the one who is transforming the world. John reminds us and them that there is one much greater than he who is to come along. Jesus the Christ. Jesus even though he is aware of his divine purpose, still comes to John to prepare him, He takes the repenter’s baptism and makes it so much more – he makes it a baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God is present and speaks to us all. We are to listen to Jesus – because he is well loved by his father. What does that mean for those of us who have been baptized?
Questions What does it mean to say that we are 'claimed' by God? What trials have we endured on our journey to our destiny? What proof do we have that God is with us on the journey? What happens at baptism? Is baptism an ending point or a beginning point in our relationship with God? What difference does baptism make in our lives?