By Brooke Holt
“Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.” – Book of Common Prayer, The Collect for Year C, First Sunday after the Epiphany
In this week’s Gospel passage, we read of the baptism of Jesus. Before Jesus had done any ministry, before he had called his disciples or preached a sermon, Jesus identified with you in his baptism. Like other Jewish men and women, Jesus made the long journey out to the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. Though he had committed no sin, Jesus went under the waters signifying a turning from sin and a washing away of its effects. As Jesus came out of the water, the heavens burst open, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove, and the voice of the Father proclaimed: “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Luke 3:22). Before Jesus had done any great works in proclaiming and building the kingdom of God on earth, the Father was pleased with him.
The question you must wrestle with today is whether you can identify with Jesus. He already identified with you in undergoing his baptism. Do you now align yourself with him? When you were baptized, you went under the water to renounce sin, and you came out of the water to signify your new life in Christ. Through the blood of Jesus, you have been redeemed, saved, and cleansed from all your sin—sin past, present, and future. And the heavenly Father speaks the same words over you that he spoke over his Son: “You are my beloved son/daughter; with you I am well pleased.”
The Lord not only accepts you and loves you but is pleased with you. Like Jesus, his pleasure is not based on what you have done or will do. His pleasure is in who you are. You are his beloved child. You are the one he loves. You are the source of his delight. The Lord invites you to fully participate in the life of Jesus, the pleasure of Jesus, and the righteousness of Jesus. Can you or will you identify with him?
Everything has been given to you. Just like those gifts on Christmas morning, you must unwrap and enjoy the gifts. May this season be one of renewal—renewal in the love, acceptance, and pleasure of your heavenly Father.
Do you struggle to believe that the Lord speaks such words of affirmation over you? Sit quietly with him today asking him to break through any barriers to his love, acceptance, and pleasure. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
In our six-week small group Bible study on the book of 1 John, you are invited to live and celebrate true life in Christ. Throughout his first letter, John wrestles with the assurance of salvation. How do we know that we are genuine Christians, and how can we recognize authentic faith in others? The Apostle John taught that you can enjoy full assurance through believing in the incarnate Son of God, walking in the light of obedience, and loving God and his children. Embark on this study with us today!
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