Tag Archives: baptism

One of Us #adventbookclub – Day 4

Luke 3:21-38 (CEV)

The Baptism of Jesus

21 While everyone else was being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. Then as he prayed, the sky opened up, 22 and the Holy Spirit came down upon him in the form of a dove. A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”

I, Davezelenka [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) via Wikimedia Commons

The Ancestors of Jesus

23 When Jesus began to preach, he was about thirty years old. Everyone thought he was the son of Joseph. But his family went back through Heli, 24 Matthat, Levi, Melchi, Jannai, Joseph, 25 Mattathias, Amos, Nahum, Esli, Naggai, 26 Maath, Mattathias, Semein, Josech, Joda;

27 Joanan, Rhesa, Zerubbabel, Shealtiel, Neri, 28 Melchi, Addi, Cosam, Elmadam, Er, 29 Joshua, Eliezer, Jorim, Matthat, Levi;

30 Simeon, Judah, Joseph, Jonam, Eliakim, 31 Melea, Menna, Mattatha, Nathan, David, 32 Jesse, Obed, Boaz, Salmon, Nahshon;

33 Amminadab, Admin, Arni, Hezron, Perez, Judah, 34 Jacob, Isaac, Abraham, Terah, Nahor, 35 Serug, Reu, Peleg, Eber, Shelah;

36 Cainan, Arphaxad, Shem, Noah, Lamech, 37 Methuselah, Enoch, Jared, Mahalaleel, Kenan, 38 Enosh, and Seth.

The family of Jesus went all the way back to Adam and then to God.

If ever there was proof that Jesus was one of us…

Jesus joins in, he is baptised.  He doesn’t sit and watch others do it, he takes part too.  He joins with what they are doing.

And then we have his ancestry, his family line.  This is where Jesus has come from, who he is.

If ever there was proof that Jesus was God…

At his baptism the public recognition, a statement by God,

This is my own dear son

And in his family line, traceable “All the way back to Adam,

And then to God

This is no upstart, no charlatan, no fly-by-night imposter.  This is God, here, living with us, in a human form.

God was, and is, one of us.  Living the life we live, showing us his way to do it.

When we wonder at things, and wonder what God would do, we can look at Jesus and his life.  When we ask, but what if God were here – he is.  Here for each and every one of us, here with each one of us, in the lives that we lead day by day.  His presence is woven through the history of humanity, and it is woven through our history.

Jesus brings God to it, brings

wholeness, healing and completeness (p27)

What if God Were One of Us?

Thank You God,
for being One of Us,
coming to the world,
showing us your ways
in the life of Jesus.

Thank you for being willing to become like us
that we might see and understand
what your ways are.

Help me
to follow your example,
to learn to live your ways,

This year, several of us are reading Beginnings and Endings by Maggi Dawn and joining together to comment on it.  Do join us at the Adventbookclub Facebook page, follow #adventbookclub on Twitter or comment below.  If you are also reading and blogging on this book, let me know and I will link to your blog.

 

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Cleaning Up

How the washing piles up over Christmas – well it has in our house!  The same is true with the washing up – the dishwasher has been on overtime.  And as I sit looking at my windows with the sun shining on them, I can see how in need of a clean they are too – maybe tomorrow…

Dirt happens, it just does.  But with our modern appliances and potions it is not difficult to make things clean again.

John the Baptist came at a time when people had wandered away from God.  Despite the perfect world that he had created, all in harmony and balance, people had done their own thing.  They had got things wrong, marred creation, and generally made a mess.  And the mess needed sorting out.

Sorting it out had to begin with themselves.  They had to recognise that they had got things wrong and start again in the right way.

Pieter Brueghel (II) [Public domain or Public domain , via Wikimedia Commons”]

 

John come offering them baptism – an opportunity to get cleaned up and start again with God.  To have the things they had done wrong forgiven.  The symbolism of baptism is clear.  It is the opportunity to be washed clean.  But unlike the washing or the windows, not just to be cleaned to be used and get dirty all over again, but to be washed and to have the chance to turn away from one way and to another.

Many took the chance John was offering them.  They felt the need to be washed clean.

The same opportunity is still available to us today.  God offers us a clean start, a new chance.

Washing needs a good detergent.  God offers us the best way to clean up lives.

What a gift: for those who cannot forgive themselves; for those who feel that they have gone too far away; for those who feel weighed down by what they know they have got wrong; for those who don’t know what to do next…

If a time of reflection has led you to think how wrong you have got it, and you know you need to try again, God can take the burden from you.  Try it.  Let him cleanse you.

God,

I want to thank you,

that you offer me a new way,

a better way,

the right way.

But more than that,

I thank you that through you,

the things I have got wrong

need not weigh me down,

and hold me back.

You take them from me,

clean me up,

and set me on the right way.

Thank you for that opportunity –

help me to take it.

You don’t want to do that

 

“You don’t wanna do that” became the catch phrase of Harry Enfield’s character on his show, Harry Enfield’s Television Programme.  But it’s pretty much the phrase John uses to Jesus in this reading.

 

John has been bringing the message of forgiveness, and baptising those who wanted to receive that forgiveness.  He has just finished telling them that someone more powerful is coming – and here he is.

Jesus comes to John to be baptised.  But John will have none of it – ‘You don’t want to do that Jesus’.

John knows who Jesus is, he has known it since before he was born.  So he also knows that Jesus has nothing to seek forgiveness for.  He is God’s son, born of Mary who gave us so much to bring him into the world, and his is living God’s life now.  John feels unworthy, and he thinks it is inappropriate.

 

But Jesus knows it is important.  If he was coming to identify with humanity, he had to start where they were, and where they were was in the river being baptised.  Jesus came to enter fully into human life.  He didn’t have to, but he chose to.  He wanted to be where we would be, to feel what we would feel, to know how it was to live a human life – and to live God’s life in it.

Jesus came to be with ordinary people.  That is what pleased God.  He was not with those sat in the Temple thinking they had it all right, but with the ordinary man and woman who knew where they were and what they’d got wrong.

Today he still walks with the ordinary man and woman.  He comes where he is needed.  He’ll get in the water with us, and not shy away.  And he wants to do it.

The river at Yardent, “close to where Jesus was baptised”

Thank you Jesus

that you came into the world.

Thank you that you didn’t sit in palaces or places that others deemed “holy”,

but that you came to the reality of life.

Thank you for being willing to do that,

to go against what people expected of you,

to do the thing that needed doing.

May I make room for you

in my ordinary life.