Our scripture this week is Mark 1:9-13, taken today from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.” And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

This passage tells us that Jesus was baptized just as we are, what some call “an outward sign of an inward change”. Jesus certainly didn’t need to change His behavior or belief as humans do when we repent and seek forgiveness, but He accepted His baptism as an example for us. Everything Jesus said and did was to show God’s love and teach us how to be part of His kingdom work.

Being baptized indicates a promise from us to God. Many of us were baptized as infants and our parents made the promise to guide us until we could accept the responsibility for our faith ourselves. That was God’s plan for Jesus as well, that He would guide us until there were other believers to pass the faith to the world.

When Jesus came up out of the water, scripture tells us there was a voice from heaven saying “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased” (v. 11). God speaks the same message into our lives, saying we are His beloved children and He has wonderful plans for us. Listen for His voice today, encouraging and energizing us to carry on the work Jesus began.

Loving Lord, You have given us Jesus to save and lead us. Help us to use Your gifts and lessons wisely to make a difference in our world. Amen.

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