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The Baptism of the Lord 11th January,2015

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Sunday 11th Jan 2015 Epiphany 1 7:30am, 9:30am, 11am St A’s & 6:30pm St Pete’s

The Baptism of our Lord   Gen 1:1-5, Acts 19:1-7 & Mark 1: 4-11

 

However great the Baptist might be, he has no illusions about his own role in God’s saving history. He announces that he is not even worthy to knell down to undo the strap of his sandals, the humblest of services, of the one who is yet to come. He witnesses to the coming of a more powerful figure. The Baptist looks forward to someone whom he names with a name that was used within Judaism to speak of God: ‘the Powerful One.’ While the Baptist baptises with water, ‘he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ Another attribute of God, the one who gives the Spirit, has been passed on to the coming Powerful One.

 

Announced in this way, as someone who will bring into the human story the actions and attributes of God, Jesus is baptised by John. Jesus himself does not do anything, but sensational things happen around him and to him. His baptism is marked by visual and aural proclamations. The heavens are torn apart. In a world where God dwelt the firmament above, and the human story goes on below, the tearing apart of the skies announced that God had communicated with his creation. The Spirit descends in the form of a dove, upon the one being baptised. Then a voice is heard: ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests with you,’

 

Another era begins as God’s Son is among us. There has been a message from above (vertical), as Jesus has been designated a Son among us (horizontal), in whom God is well pleased. Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, but this is only possible because of his relationship with God, who is pleased with him. The Father will be well pleased with the Son (vertical) through his messianic action (horizontal). The Messianic action of Jesus will display the inevitable consequences of a human life lived in profound openness to God. The vertical and the horizontal meet to produce the cross.

 

Jesus has been filled with the Holy Spirit and will baptise in the Holy Spirit. Because of the events proclaimed by today’s feast, we live in the era of the Spirit. We are the recipients of the Spirit given by the Son. On this day Jesus begins his public life. He is solemnly proclaimed Son by a voice from heaven, and as the Son he begins his messianic mission. This gives sence and direction to the Christian Church.

(Adapted from This is the Gospel of the Lord – Year B, by Francis J. Moloney, pages 84-5)

 

Genesis 1:1-5

1 In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, 2 the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. 3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

Acts 19:1-7

1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. 2 He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied— 7 altogether there were about twelve of them.

Mark 1:4-11

4John the baptiser appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptised by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptised you with water; but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.” 9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 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. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.