Lectionary Reflection: Mark 1: 4-11: Epiphany

My son was looking at my calendar and noticed the Baptism of the Lord was on a different day from Epiphany.  “Don’t they mean the same thing?”  He asked.

“No.  Baptism is baptism.  Epiphany in this context means a manifestation of God.  You see, Jesus – God the son – submitted to baptism to fulfill all righteousness.  In other words, he did what he was supposed to do.  Then God, the Holy Spirit descended on him to sanctify and empower him, and God the father declared him to be God the beloved son and the Father was pleased.

There was a pause.

“So aren’t you going to tell me about the Holy Spirit?  I want to be empowered and I want to know that God loves me, too.”

I looked at my son.  “Aren’t you supposed to be doing your homework right now?”

I have found that people want to hear that God loves them.  Then also, people would not mind a little empowerment to keep doing what they are doing, and they would like to hear that their lives, lifestyles, life choices and all are sanctified. 

It doesn’t work that way.

Inevitably, people need to stop doing what they are doing and instead do what God the Father wants them to do.  No, God’s love is not dependant on what we do, but it is safe to say God is pleased by our faithfulness. 

The thing is, if we really want to be empowered, sanctified and maybe even hear from God, we need to be about God’s work.  We need to be like Jesus, willing to submit our whole life to the will and work of God.  Abraham did what God asked him to do.  He believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness.

The problem with most is like my son.  They want the As without having to bother doing that homework stuff.


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