Going Deeper 01.08.2021

The Gospel reading for Epiphany 1... Mark 1:4-11

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”  In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Sometimes the meaning of Bible passages is not evident at first glance.  As a matter of fact, part of what can make the time we spend digging into the word on our own and with others so interesting and meaningful is the discovery of new and important understanding.  The final words of that text provided such an experience for me many years ago.

And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”  At first glance, this sounds like a proud father publicly expressing affection for his son.  "Yep... that's my boy!  Gotta say I'm quite proud of him."  But those who first heard these words spoken from heaven would have found them quite familiar and would have been curious about their meaning.

“You are my Son, the Beloved...” echoed Psalm 2:7, which was used at the coronation of Israel/Judah's kings.  This Jesus, baptized with many other common folks in Jordan's waters by John, was anything but common!  These words proclaim Jesus as King.

The words "with you I am well pleased...” ‚Äčare drawn from Isaiah 42, from a section known as "Songs of the Servant."  Wait-- how can a king also be a servant?  Answer: keep reading... Jesus will show us how!

As a Servant King, Jesus was shockingly different than anyone had expected.  Yes, at times His divine, kingly powers were on display.  Yes, Jesus did teach as one who had authority.  But this King used His power to compassionately serve.  This King washed feet.  This King wore a crown of thorns, and His ultimate throne was a cross.

This Jesus was beyond special.  This Jesus was God-in-the-flesh, who came to save and restore us.

With You in Him,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor

Zion Lutheran Church, Wellington

"Gratefully Growing Servants"