Scripture: Luke 3:15-22
Key verse: (16) “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; . . .He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Reflection: Baptism is powerful. It is a sign and seal of God’s claim on our lives. Most people in the Presbyterian Church were baptized as babies. They have no recollection of their baptism. In other traditions (and sometimes Presbyterian), people wait until they are able to make a profession of faith before they are baptized. Either way, baptism starts with water, administered by a pastor, but the power comes from God. It is God who shapes and transforms a person’s life from the inside out by the work of the Holy Spirit. This power is like fire – refining and purifying.
When we read the story about John the Baptist in the wilderness, we are reminded of our desire to be cleansed by God – to receive forgiveness for our mistakes and the gift of grace and love for our daily lives. There is a longing in every person to be made new. We want to be closer to God and find true hope and joy. Every day the water of baptism reminds us of our connection to God – a connection that can’t be broken.
Baptism is once and for all. We can’t re-do what God had done. God begins a good work in each of us. There may be times we lose track of God’s hand on our lives but the water of baptism reminds us that we belong to God. When we remember our baptism, we can recommit to it. The water has been poured on our heads and the Holy Spirit is at work.
I invite you to remember your baptism today. Embrace it. Give thanks for it. Surrender to God’s loving will and pursue God’s hopes and dreams for you.
Prayer: Gracious God, we give thanks for the power of baptism. We thank you for the faithfulness of John the Baptist and the prophetic message he had then and now. Help us to give ourselves wholeheartedly to Jesus’ love and the courage to live out of his transforming power. In his holy name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].