Luke 3:15-17; 21-22
Gospel Lesson for Sunday Jan 13 2019
15 As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing-fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing-floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
In this age of electronic everything, is there still any reason to memorize anything? After all, the phrase, “Google it” is our go-to response to any question, concern, or curiosity we might have. I know there are certain Lutheran catechisms, scripture verses and creeds that we seek to instill in our children. And I know for a fact that they do not ever leave us, even if the exact wording grows dim. These precious truths become the imprints in our minds and hearts that serve as guardrails and grace notes throughout our lives.
And so it must have been with Jesus as he was being baptized by John. To hear your Father speak such words of love, encouragement and identity had to have left a deep impression and must have served as a signpost as Jesus walked his unique journey for the world. “You are my Son,” the heavens proclaimed, “whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22b). These words must have echoed in his mind as he so quickly turned from the waters of baptism into his baptism by fire in the wilderness.
Deuteronomy 6:4-9, after chapter 5’s reprise of the commandments, has always been for me the rationale for all religious education. For children, this education, this enculturation, does not begin in church, but in the home. The Jewish tradition has much to teach us about the formation of our children. “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” To what end? So that we do not forget the Lord who brought us out of Egypt (v. 12) or the One who has brought each one of us out of our own personal kingdom in chains into the great and glorious kingdom of God.
As the brothers and sisters of Jesus, may we hear and remember those words Jesus heard at his baptism. We are God’s children, we are loved, and we have pleased God! There is no other truth, so let us commit to live into this truth. Memorize, remember, and hold in your hearts the covenant of love and grace we have with our Lord. We can Google everything else.
e-Devotion author: Nance Wabshaw.
If you are interested in becoming an e-Devotion author, please contact Pastor Dan Hoeger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 602.866.9191 .
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