First Sunday after The Epiphany (The Baptism of our Lord), Year C
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.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, John 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. His 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.”
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and 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.”
Faith from the Margins to the Web Bible Study Group
Epiphany is a season of light and enlightenment. In this spirit, for the first four weeks in Epiphany, the Bible Study group met and considered one question together for each weekly lesson: What does this lesson tell us about who Jesus is?
David read this week’s lesson and was the first to speak: “To me, this is the introduction of Jesus as God’s Son. He should shine in your life like the Messiah. Jesus is the way to God.”
Jamillah added, “I think it’s that Jesus is sent as the Word. John points out that he [John] isn’t the Messiah; the Messiah is still coming. We hear about Jesus, and how we will know he IS the Messiah, because he is the one who roams with the people and speaks the Word.”
The group members were all surprised to hear that Jesus was baptized. Eugene summed up it up well: “If Jesus was the one they were to believe in, if he was like the leader, then why would they baptize him?”
“He used himself as an example” said Dale. “He wasn’t above us. He was one of us.”
“John didn’t want to baptize Jesus” said Paul, “but Jesus told him to, to let the people know that he was an example.”
“There are leaders that think they’re above things, and there are leaders who know they are just like everyone else” I added. “I think we see here what kind of leader Jesus was!”
“So, we can go even further” said David. “Once you are baptized, you are body and spirit. There’s two pathways for me, the way I’m seeing it. So there is Jesus, here, baptized and the Holy Spirit is with him for everyone to see, just like it is for us when we are baptized into water and the Holy Spirit.”
“The thing that hit me is when John says that Jesus is so powerful, he is like an unquenchable fire!” added Beth. “I just love that!”
Others agreed, “And it’s like how Jesus is described, so full of fire, unquenchable. A fully human person, but so powerful” said Jamillah.
“And the Holy Spirit, you know, the coming of the Holy Spirit made our spirits holy, too” added Paul. “When we are baptized, we become a holy people. We’re part of the unquenchable fire!”
Jesus: Messiah, leader-by-example, unquenchable fire that enlightens our spirits