Readings: January 10, 2016, Baptism of the Lord

All readings from the Message Bible © 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

  • Isaiah 40:1-11

Messages of Comfort

Prepare for God’s Arrival

“Comfort, oh comfort my people,” says your God. “Speak softly and tenderly to Jerusalem, but also make it very clear that she has served her sentence, that her sin is taken care of—forgiven! She’s been punished enough — more than enough, and now it’s over and done with.”

Thunder in the desert! “Prepare for God’s arrival! Make the road straight and smooth, a highway fit for our God. Fill in the valleys, level off the hills, smooth out the ruts, clear out the rocks. Then God’s bright glory will shine and everyone will see it. Yes. Just as God has said.”

Climb a high mountain, Zion. You’re the preacher of good news. Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem. You’re the preacher of good news. Speak loud and clear. Don’t be timid!

Tell the cities of Judah, “Look! Your God!” Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power, ready to go into action. He is going to pay back his enemies and reward those who have loved him. Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock, gathering the lambs in his arms, Hugging them as he carries them, leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.

  • Titus 2:11-14, 4-7

Beloved: God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

When God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.

  • Luke 3:15-22

The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, “Could this John be the Messiah?”

But John intervened: “I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.

After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”

 

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