Friday, January 8, 2010

Daily - 1/8/09

Luke 3:15-16, 21-22 - Baptism of Jesus

15 Now the people were filled with expectation, and all were asking in their hearts whether John might be the Messiah.

16 John answered them all, saying, "I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.

21 After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened

22 and the holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Welcome to Ordinary Time for 2010. We begin with the baptism of Christ. SIDE NOTE: This is one of three times in the Gospels where God the Father speaks from heaven. The other two times are at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13), and at the close of Christ's ministry immediately before the Passion (John 12:23-32).

John the Baptist had acquired a significant following. He continued his ministry after Jesus was baptised, but from that point on, he submitted completely to Christ. As John says, he -- who Christ said was the greatest of the prophets -- was not fit to loosen his sandals. We see this in
John 3:

25 Now a dispute arose between the disciples of John and a Jew about ceremonial washings.

26 So they came to John and said to him, "Rabbi, the one who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you testified, here he is baptizing and everyone is coming to him."

27 John answered and said, "No one can receive anything except what has been given him from heaven.

28 You yourselves can testify that I said (that) I am not the Messiah, but that I was sent before him.

29 The one who has the bride is the bridegroom; the best man, who stands and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine has been made complete.

30 He must increase; I must decrease."

He must increase, I must decrease. That applies to anyone who wishes to put the flesh to death and live a life in the spirit. If we want to live the abundant life that Christ came to give us (John 10:10), we must lay ourselves down, and take on Christ. We need to do it over and over, as Christ shows us pieces of our life that we cling to and won't surrender.

I remember the first time I truly offered myself up to Christ, and meant it. I was scared and nervous, for myself, my own future, and for that of my family. I was scared of what I might have to give up to follow Him. I was scared of what God might do to me if I truly gave myself to Him.

I'd be lying if I said that those temptations have completely gone away. In fact, it seems that every time I learn of a new thing that I have to give up, they return to at least a small degree. What I can say, though, is that every time I have given something up for God, I have been rewarded in some manner or another, and that the reward has always exceeded whatever little sacrifice I might have made.

He must increase, I must decrease.