“You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” It seems counter-intuitive that John would go to the wilderness to proclaim his message. Why not go to the city, where people live? The answer is that the wilderness has special meaning to the Jewish people. It was to the freedom of the wilderness that God led them from their slavery in Egypt. It was in the wilderness that they became a nation.
Here in Mark’s Gospel, we get a voice from heaven, declaring that Jesus is a beloved child of God. We also have the sign of John himself, clothed in a way that ancient readers would have recognized as looking like the prophet Elijah, and saying that someone else – someone great – is coming. This just increases the anticipation and suspense at that moment when Jesus emerges from the river Jordan, dripping wet, and the sky breaks open and the Spirit comes down like a dove. An epiphany, for sure.
It is all about A NEW LIFE IN GOD. John baptized them to prepare them for the day when Jesus comes. It was a necessary first step toward a new life. A change of mind and direction. A total change of spiritual direction.
The purpose of Jesus’ baptism, in this Gospel, is to establish his identity as the Son of God. Verses 10-11, which tell of Jesus’ vision and the voice from heaven, constitute the core of this baptismal story.
Jesus’ incarnation reminds us that we are all the Beloved, we are all children of God, with whom God is well pleased. Remembering this belovedness can strengthen us during difficult times and help us live into our call as followers of Christ. Have you heard God’s voice telling you how loved you are? Try sitting in silence for a few minutes and listening for that voice. When have you experienced an epiphany, a sudden insight into something deeply real, deeply true? Where did that insight lead you? (Sermon that Works)
Rector’s Note: I would like to thank you all for your active participation in our advent and Christmas online worship services. It was a joy for me to be able to serve you in another way. I would like to acknowledge the stewardship of all people who were involved to make this ministry a blessing to all of us.
Also, we thank you all for picking up your 2021 parish envelope offering. If you were not able to pick up your offering envelope, please contact Natasha and she would arrange a pickup time for you with our envelope secretary. Please continue supporting the work that we do at St. Michael’s. Blessings!