The way Peter reasons it, Jesus is that unique water, applied in baptism, which washes away all our dirty sinfulness, declaring: For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous…. Baptism… now saves you … Simply put, this is what I mean by today’s message theme: Jesus’ Dirty Washing.
Profoundly, it was not his dirt but ours. The washing was ours, not his … not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.
Alluding to the Old Testament Day of Atonement ritual, the sermon today elaborates on Jesus' Temptation and how this is profoundly connected to his baptism and our own baptisms.
In our message for today, we hear how St Paul unveils a profound truth: despite our earthly frailty, we carry within us the radiant light of Christ. The world may be veiled in darkness, and the future unknown, but the gospel illuminates our hearts, offering hope and assurance. It is this enlightening message that we are called to share with others. Through Jesus, we become beacons, shining forth God’s glory.
We can see the effects of the wind and feel it’s presence but we cannot see it. Yet an eagle in the mountains can stretch out its large wings and without flapping them, harness this unseen force and soar to incredibly high altitudes.
'but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.’ Isaiah 40. 31
Have you ever wondered what to do when you face a situation where your Christian freedom seems to clash with the conscience of another believer? How do you decide what is right and wrong in matters that are not clearly spelled out in the Bible? How do you balance your liberty in Christ with your love for your brothers and sisters in the Lord? These are some of the questions that Paul addresses in 1 Corinthians 8, where he deals with the issue of eating food that has been sacrificed to idols. In this passage, he teaches us some important principles on how to use our freedom in Christ wisely and lovingly, without causing others to stumble in their faith. Let us listen to what God’s Word has to say to us today.
For some people, fishing is enjoyable relaxation. There are also others around the world who rely on fishing to provide for their families – you don’t catch, you don’t eat. When Jesus called to the fishermen, Simon and Andrew, James and John, he was calling them to leave behind their jobs, their lifestyles and their families to become his disciples. Jesus also calls us to be his disciples and become “fishers of people”. Discipleship is a journey where God has given us gifts and opportunities to share the message of salvation with the world. We pray that God’s love will work through us so that others see and hear Jesus in our words and actions.
God knows you inside out. Despite our best efforts to hide and disguise ourselves, He knows every part and He still comes as our Saviour. Why? Because God doesn’t want to just know us, He wants to be known by us in return, to be in relationship with each and every part of His creation. Come and see Jesus.
At his baptism God sent down the Holy Spirit on Jesus and revealed him as his beloved Son. As God’s anointed Son Jesus took upon himself the servant work of saving the world. Because he did that we too can be baptised. We are baptised into Jesus Christ. We are baptised into his death and resurrection. Our sins are washed away, we die to sin, and we are born anew of water and the Spirit to live as new people. We become God's children through Christ. In baptism we too are anointed with the Holy Spirit and are empowered for doing good, for mission, for service.
Another year has almost gone and we are on the brink of 2024. What kind of year has 2023 been for you? How would you place it on a scale of 1-10? As we stand on the threshold of another year, Jesus tells us through the parable of the fig tree, of God's forgiveness and grace. He is ready to help us be the people we should be as we step forward with him into the new year.
'To you is born this day a Saviour who is Christ, the Lord.' Luke 2:11
There are two kinds of gifts that I receive at Christmas - those I want and those I don't want. Christmas reveals God's amazing Gift to us humans. Is that Gift among those I want, or don't want?