During the current season of Epiphany our scripture lessons aim to ‘present’ Jesus to the world.
As a way to prepare for our gathering this Sunday consider these 3 lessons.
As a prophet Isaiah was tasked with critiquing the current situation of his people. A prophet
can deliver both difficult criticism but also a glimpse into a hopeful future. Consider the reading
below. These words appear centuries before the arrival of Jesus.
Isaiah 42:1-4; 9
Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
I tell you of them.
Qs. Do you think these words accurately describe the character of Jesus?
Can you think of places now where people are ‘waiting for his teaching?’
In this lesson Jesus ‘enters’ the Jordan River to be baptized and then He ‘exits’ the water. Think for a moment about why Jesus consented to going into the water.
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 fulfill 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.’
Q. Is it a bigger deal that Jesus goes into the water… or is it a bigger deal when He comes back out?
What are your reasons?
It has been observed that in our present period of time people around the world are trending towards becoming more ‘tribal.’ After spending about 3 years with Jesus Peter says these words; (Acts 10:34-38)
Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
Q. What might the bolded phrase from Peter’s speech mean for our present day?