January 7, 2024
Today’s Reading: Mark 1:4-11
Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”(Mark 1:6-11)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It is all about Jesus. Crazy John knew this in the wilderness, and made sure people knew it! “After me comes he who is mightier than I… I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” The people at the Jordan at the time probably knew this too! After all, the voice of God proclaimed Jesus as His beloved son. But many today have forgotten. We live in a world that is all about me and what I want. And this mentality has even trickled into how some Christians talk about Baptism. For some Christians, Baptism is a choice. It is a confession of my faith to prove that I love God and have accepted Him into my heart. This sort of thinking about Baptism is more about the act of Baptism and what it symbolizes, rather than being about the promises and salvation granted to us through it.
But, while your Baptism brings you into the family of God, your Baptism is not really about you. It is about Jesus. It is about your Lord binding you to Himself through water and Word, washing you clean of your sins and placing His name upon you. In Baptism, Christ secures His children for Himself. Baptism is all about Jesus, and so you can be certain that it is for you! In Christ, we have hope that the Word and water does what it says it will, regardless of how we feel in our own heart and experience our life as baptized Christians. Christ does not change, and neither does your Baptism. Thanks be to God that it’s not about us, and all about Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Blessed Lord, You wonderfully foreshadowed the promise of Baptism in the rescue of Noah from the flood, in the passing of Your people through the Red Sea, and in the ceremonial washings of Your law. In Christ and by His Baptism, You have kept Your Word and made Baptism to be the water of new life. Give us Your Holy Spirit, that we may become the new and holy people You have declared us to be. Amen. (Collect from LCMS Series C)
-Vicar Benjamin Heinz is vicar at Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield, MO.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.
The Lutheran Reader’s Bible helps you develop a habit of devotion and Bible reading so you can slowly but intentionally understand and grow in God’s Word. Through introductions to the sixty-six books of the Bible, guided reading plans, and more, this Bible builds your confidence to study Scripture on your own.