Psalm 29; Genesis 1: 1 – 5; Acts 19 : 1 – 7; Mark 1:4 – 11
The reflection for this week is by Local Preacher, Adam Biddlestone.
As we begin another new year, the stories of Christmas are behind us and the ministry of the adult Jesus lies ahead. With a very early Easter this year, we will soon be into the stories that lead us to the cross and beyond to the joy of his resurrection. This year we journey with Mark through his gospel account.
Mark, unlike the two other Synoptic Gospels, begins not with birth stories but by announcing, ‘the beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah.’ It is John the Baptist
Mark introduces us to first, the one Isaiah foretells will be the messenger preparing a way for the Lord and through John’s call Jesus appears and Mark draws us into his gospel.
This Sunday is also the 1st Sunday in Ordinary Time, the 1st of 33 Sundays marked as Ordinary. God interrupts our ordinary lives through his transforming love and calling. On the day of our gospel story those who heard John’s call had their ordinary day interrupted, through their own baptisms and by witnessing the dramatic events surrounding Jesus’ baptism, as the heavens are torn open, a dove descends and a voice proclaims, ‘you are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’ (1 : 11) Paul, arriving and preaching in Ephesus, challenged some disciples about their belief and baptism. ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ (Acts 19 : 2) They admitted to not understanding what the Holy Spirit is. Their baptism was by John and by water. Paul reminds them of the call they would have heard from John, ‘I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’ (Mark 1 : 8) Their response is to be baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus, to receive the Holy Spirit, speak in tongues and prophesy. Not quite the ordinary day they were expecting. Paul’s word interrupts their ordinary day, so their response and commitment transforms their lives.
What about you, how has God interrupted your ordinary life? Are you prepared to allow him to interrupt and transform your life? Our Covenant commitment is, ‘I am no longer my own but yours, put me to what you will…’
Lord, we thank you for the message of John the Baptist,
calling us to prepare a way for the Lord.
As we start a new year, help us to prepare a way in our own hearts and lives for Christ to dwell among us and once prepared ourselves, to call others into the story of his birth.