Hello Everyone and Happy New Year,
Thank you everyone who participated in this past Sunday's Covenant Renewal Service. I enjoyed the service and I had several positive comments. I hope it becomes a meaningful worship service that we use every year.
This coming Sunday is the first Sunday after Epiphany and is the Sunday we celebrate the Baptism of Jesus. All of our scripture lessons relate to this baptism.
Isaiah 42:1-9 - Verses 1-4 of this passage is considered the first of four "Servant Songs" (see also 49:1-7, 50:4-11, and 52:13-53:12). In the Servant Songs the Lord declares or chooses his servant who suffers without complaint for the Lord. Christians see these songs as pointing to the suffering of Jesus during his arrest, trial, and crucifixion, especially the fourth song. The remaining verses are a declaration of the Lord that he has chosen the Israelites, his people, to be a light for all nations so that they may know the Lord.
Psalm 29 - The Psalmist calls on all creation to recognize the Lord in the storms. The Psalm uses words like thunder, power, breaking, flashes of fire, shaking of the wilderness, oaks whirling, and forests stripped bare.
Acts 10:34-43 - Here Peter preaches the Good News to Cornelius, his family, and his servants. Key phrases in this passage that are worthy of study include "God shows no partiality", "preaching peace by Jesus Christ", "God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power", "We are witnesses", "He commanded us to preach", and "All the prophets testify about him." In the verses that follow, the Holy Spirit comes upon Cornelius and family and Peter says that they should also be baptized with water.
Matthew 3:13-17 - These five short verses pack a lot of information: Jesus comes to John to be baptized; John doesn't want to do it but Jesus insists because it would fulfill "all righteousness"; as Jesus is coming up from the water the heavens opened, the Spirit of God descends like a dove, and the voice of God declares Jesus as his son. Jesus is the premier servant who will suffer and be a light (Isaiah 42), the voice of the Lord comes from the heavens (Psalm 29) and the Spirit anoints Jesus with power to serve (Acts 10). This anointing will lead to the cross.