New Beginnings: Lessons from Jesus’ Baptism

“And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me comes the one more powerful than I, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”” (Mark 1:4–11, NIV)     

Jesus’s baptism was a transition. It marked the beginning of his ministry. It is not just a story, it’s a turning point. In John 2:4, Jesus told Mary that his time had not come yet. But now in Mark 1:4 through 11 his time has come. I think about the scene by the Jordan River. There were crowds there waiting to get baptized by John the Baptist. And then Jesus shows up. Some of the people there might have known him as a person, but they did not realize that this Jesus, this person that they knew as the son of the carpenter from Nazareth was the Savior for all humanity.

What can we, as Christians today, learn from this moment in Jesus’s life? How does Jesus’s baptism by John in the Jordan River speak into our lives today, especially as we begin the new year? This text that we’re looking at today is not just an account to admire, it is a layered event, full of meaning for our lives here and now. As the brand-new year stretches out before us, full of unknown things, we can find comfort and direction right here on the bank of the Jordan River with Jesus.

Prayer for Sunday, January 7, 2024

Dear Heavenly Father,
In this quiet moment of reflection, I’m filled with deep gratitude for Your incredible gift of sacrifice for our sins. The story of Your provision, the ultimate sacrifice in Jesus, is a powerful reminder of Your boundless love and grace. Thank You for this extraordinary act of love that has opened the way for us to have a personal relationship with You. It’s amazing to think that You would go to such lengths to ensure our redemption and freedom. Your willingness to bear the cost of our sins is both humbling and awe-inspiring. Please help me to live in a way that honors this incredible gift. May my actions, words, and thoughts reflect the gratitude and joy that come from knowing the depth of Your love and sacrifice. And let this gratitude spill over into how I treat others, sharing the story of Your love and sacrifice wherever I go. In Jesus’ holy name, I pray ,Amen.

Jan. 8 Prayer
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Jan. 11 Prayer
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Jan. 14 Prayer