URC Daily Devotion Monday 16 January 2023

Monday 16 January 2023

St Matthew 3: 13 – 17

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him.  John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’  But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he consented.  And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’

If we look at the Basis of Union we find these words: “The United Reformed Church observes the gospel sacrament of baptism into Christ as a gift of God to his Church, and as an appointed means of grace.  Baptism is administered with water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  It is the sacrament of entry into the Church and is therefore administered once only to any person.”.
John spent some years in the wilderness baptising people in the river Jordan, he baptised those who wanted to repent of their sins, turn their life round and be followers of God’s way.  To be baptised by John was a once in a lifetime event. 
When anyone, child or adult is baptised we are following the example of Jesus who went to be baptised by John.  People usually gather around to either congratulate the parents if a baby being baptised or to congratulate the adult who has been baptised. 

It is clear that Jesus did not need to repent but he was baptised as He knew it was what the Father wanted Him to do.  In the passage today God told Jesus that He was pleased that Jesus had done this. This might link to the words in Isaiah 53:11 “My devoted servant, with whom I am pleased, will bear the punishment of many and for his sake I will forgive them.”
This is one occasion when people saw the Holy Spirit who took the form of a dove.  This was the same type of bird that Noah sent from the arc to find dry land. Many fonts have eight sides which is symbolic of Noah, his wife, their three sons and their wives.
Loving God,
we thank you for the example set by Jesus and His obedience to your will.
We ask that we might also listen to and obey You,
We thank you that the obedience of Jesus has transformed our lives.
We thank you for all that we have in Jesus.  Amen

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