I like to think that I have it all together and that my role is to help others. I must confess that when I read “and a light to the Gentiles” (many translations say “and a light to the nations”), it sticks in my craw. Of course, this text is...
Lord, open my eyes so that I may see those people you have placed in my life to be a guiding light. Amen.
As we celebrate the Baptism of the Lord, the readings draw our attention to the connection between baptism and the pouring out of the Spirit. The prophet points forward to the day when God’s servant will come, empowered by the Spirit, and bring justice to all people, both Jew and Gentile. In the psalm, the same heavenly voice that will speak over Jesus at his baptism resounds on the earth with might and power. Peter realizes in Acts that he is witnessing the fulfillment of the promise in Isaiah, for through Jesus, God’s favor is poured out on people from every nation. Matthew tells the story of Jesus’ baptism and of the arrival of the Spirit, confirmed by the heavenly voice of affirmation.
Read Isaiah 42:1-9. What does it mean for Jesus to be a Servant Messiah? In what ways does God suffer with or for you?
Read Psalm 29. Consider the power of a thunderstorm and the danger of the ocean. What does it mean to hear thunder as God's voice? Why is baptism in water?
Read Acts 10:34-43. Consider the author’s proposal that those who fear God and do what is right may include people of other faiths. What would this mean for your faith and your relationships with those of other faiths?
Read Matthew 3:13-17. Remember your baptism. Did you make the decision to be baptized or did someone else make the decision for you? How does remembering your baptism guide you to do what God wants?
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