The Baptism of our Lord (Luke 3:21-22)
We’ve all heard the story of Jesus as told by the four New Testament writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each one tells the story differently. Most people meld the four stories into one. However, when we do this we miss the adventure, beauty and questions that enrich the never ending story of our Lord’s life, death and resurrection.
Luke’s story of Jesus’ baptism is different from Matthew’s and Mark’s, and John doesn’t mention it at all. Look at your bulletin. Who is the man pouring water on Jesus’ head? It isn’t John the Baptist because, according to Luke, John is in prison. So who did baptize Jesus according to Luke? The same person who baptized all of us – the Holy Spirit!
This opens up all kinds of questions about baptism. If God baptizes us then it’s the one relationship in life that we can’t mess up, because we did not establish it. Baptism is God’s gift to us and he will not take it back or revoke it no matter what.
Epiphany (Matthew 2:1-12)
The old and the new – it would be easier if we could embrace just the new. Then a new year would mean old habits, old worn out ways could be replaced with the new ways of the One born at Christmas.
Jesus said, “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old cloak, for the patch pulls away from the cloak and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins; otherwise, the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, and the skins are destroyed; but new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Jesus also said I make all things new. Let the new represent conversion – away with the old. The problem is that the new gets old just as the future becomes the past.