Scripture: In those days, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Mark 1:9
We begin the Lenten season with Jesus’ baptism. Why would Jesus allow himself to be baptized at all? We know he was human as we are, but there is no record about him being guilty of sin or transgressions. What would he have to confess and repent?
Even John knows that he is not worthy to baptize Jesus. Earlier in verse 7, John acknowledges that he is not fit to untie the thongs of Christ’s sandals. If anything, it should have been the other way around – Jesus should have been baptizing John.
But Jesus won’t have it. He humbles himself and is baptized. By doing so, I think Jesus was marking something new and wonderful in his own life and ministry and also modeling for us what true discipleship looks like.
The season of Lent invites us to turn from the old to the new. It is a time of letting go of whatever needs to be let go of and embracing whatever needs to be claimed.
How will you mark these days? What difference will they make? Where are the places God may be calling you to consider in a different way? Are you willing and able to have that kind of honest chat with yourself?
So often, friends and congregants tell me they are planning to give up items like Coca Cola, coffee or chocolate for Lent and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with it at all. For some of us, even this kind of self-denial proves to be a great hardship. But I’ve been challenging folks differently this year. Why not choose to go a little deeper; a little farther than you have in the past. Whatever you have done before, why not stretch a bit and see what God will do.
Prayer: Lord Christ, I cannot imagine what it must have been like for you to begin the lonely journey toward Jerusalem and the Cross. Help us to walk with you so that we might also rise with you in Resurrection.
The Reverend Dr. Cathy Gilliard