Bible Readings for Jan. 7, 2018

We have now completed the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec. 25 – Jan. 5), and celebrated the Day of Epiphany (Jan. 6th). Epiphany is commemorated as the day the Wise Men came to Jesus. Epiphany means: “to reveal”, or “to shed light upon”. During the Epiphany season Jesus will be revealed to us as light is shed upon Him and as He sheds the light of Who He is through His words and actions. The first Sunday after the Epiphany is celebrated as the Baptism of Our Lord. The Readings for today emphasize new beginnings: in creation, in Christian Baptism, and in Jesus’ Baptism.

The First Reading is recorded in Genesis 1:1-5. Notice the power of God’s Word – what God proclaims comes to be. Notice also the Trinity in this passage: God the Father, the Spirit, and the Word of God – the Word becoming incarnate in Jesus. Notice that God is the giver of all that there is: God proclaimed and creation came to be.
Lord God, we praise You that You spoke and what You commanded came to be. Enable us to trust that when You proclaim that we are forgiven and made new in Jesus that we truly are. Enable us to trust in Your Word. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

The psalm for today is Psalm 29. As you read this psalm picture a powerful thunderstorm with strong winds and rain. We face powerful storms each year, and they cause us concern; yet, also notice how the psalm ends: God is over and above even the most powerful storms, and He gives us peace. When the storms of life rage about you, remember that God is even more powerful than the storms around you, and that in Christ He gives us peace.
Comforting Lord, as the storms of life swirl around and in us, enable us to trust in Your Word to bring peace. We pray in Jesus’ Name, Who is our peace. Amen.

The Second Reading, Romans 6:1-11, is a passage that lifts up the importance of Christian Baptism. Notice what the apostle Paul proclaims about Christian Baptism: that God is in charge, and that in Baptism God joins us to Jesus’ death and resurrection, giving us eternal life in Him. Christian Baptism joins us to Jesus’ death and resurrection, and is a powerful means through which the Holy Spirit comes to us. Let us remember what God has done in Baptism, and live as those who are now in Christ.
Lord, we thank and praise You for what You do in us in Baptism. Daily enable us to return to Your grace given in Baptism, giving us new life in Jesus each day. Amen.

The Gospel, Mark 1:4-11, is Mark’s account of the Baptism of Jesus. Notice John the Baptist’s call to repent. Notice also that John came baptizing and preaching for the purpose of making Jesus known to the people. John wanted people to see Jesus, Who would baptize with the Holy Spirit. There is so much going on in Jesus’ Baptism: even though He is sinless, He is identifying with sinful humanity. His Baptism is also the beginning of His public ministry, and He ministers as the One upon Whom the Holy Spirit rests. His Baptism is also the public revelation of Jesus as the Messiah. Let us follow Jesus as the Messiah, as our Lord and Savior, remembering that as His children we have been Baptized, that we have received the Holy Spirit, that we are called to lives of faith in Him and faithful service to all people in His Name.
Lord Jesus, in Your Baptism You were proclaimed the Messiah, the Son of God. We rejoice in You as the Messiah. In Your Baptism You also identified and were joined to us, taking upon Yourself our sinfulness and our need of a redeemer. All thanks and praise to You for being our redeemer! Amen.

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