The Baptism of Christ

10th January 2021

The Baptism of Christ

 Year B

 

Collect

Eternal Father,
who at the baptism of Jesus
revealed him to be your Son,
anointing him with the Holy Spirit:
grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit,
that we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

 

Genesis 1.1-5

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 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

While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”

They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”

So Paul asked, “Then what baptism did you receive?”

“John’s baptism,” they replied.

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. There were about twelve men in all.

 

Mark 1.4-11

John came, baptising in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt round his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. And this was his message: “After me will come one more powerful than I, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptised by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Reflection by the Revd Sandie

Mark 1:4-11
 

If a Christmas story is one that announces the birth of God’s new plan of salvation, then Mark’s Gospel contains a Christmas story. This Christmas story is the account of Jesus’ baptism. Just as the other gospels reveal their entire plot through the gifts of the Magi, the Word made flesh dwelling among us, or the song of the Christmas angels, so Mark’s Gospel does the same.

For Mark what’s essential, what’s the Gospel in a single phrase, is the message Jesus hears once he goes down under the river water in solidarity with the entire blighted human race, and jumps up out of the water again.The heavens are torn apart, like sheets being ripped up for rags, a dove descends on him, and a voice fills his ears and all the depths of his soul: “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” .

If you are looking for hope, then remember these words for in a sentence they contain the entire good news of the Gospel. “You are my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus accepts baptism as an act of solidarity with the entire human race. His baptism is an enactment for all the world to see, there on the banks of the Jordan, of what it means for the Word to become flesh. This is why the baptism story is also a Christmas story: In a single word, Emmanuel God with us. God for us. God among us. God for us all, and if God is for us, then who dares to be against us? So, joy to the world, the Lord has come! And if you’re looking to find him, there he is! He just jumped into the river water to get baptized for the love of you and me.

Our baptism into Jesus means we hear the same voice he hears. The same message from heaven is aimed at us. God speaks to us as he speaks to Jesus, and says the same thing: “You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”

. Write that message from heaven on your heart. Write it on your hand as though it were crib notes for a test. Write it on a piece of paper and slip it in your wallet or stick it in your bathroom mirror. Do whatever you have to do to remember this and not forget that God says to you personally: “You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”

Better yet, listen for that message Listen carefully to the cracks and crevices in your life, and by God’s grace, that message will sound forth. It may come as a whisper, it may come as a shout, and some days it may even seem like a mumble, but that message will be there,. What God does is keep saying it, whether or not we choose to listen: “You are my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.”

 And this learning to listen cannot stop with ourselves. Indeed, why should it? We can help people to listen. To share our faith with others means helping them listen  and hear the message God speaks to them constantly: “You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased.”

 God has been made manifest at Christ’s Baptism: the Spirit, who descends from heaven as an empowering gift; the Son, To this Trinity of wondrous love be praise and glory, now and forever. Amen.

Post Communion Prayer

Lord of all time and eternity,
you opened the heavens and revealed yourself as Father
in the baptism of Jesus your beloved Son:
by the power of your Spirit
complete the heavenly work of our rebirth
through the waters of the new creation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

 

Copyright acknowledgement (where not already indicated above):

Acts 19.1-7 ©  1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton
Genesis 1.1-5 ©  1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton
Mark 1.4-11 ©  1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Pub. Hodder & Stoughton
Collect (Baptism of Christ) ©  Oxford University Press: The Book of Common Worship of the Church of South India
Post Communion (The Baptism of Christ) ©  The Archbishops' Council 2000