January 9, 2000

Mark 1:4-11 (CEV)

John the Baptist showed up in the desert and told everyone, "Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven."

From all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

John wore clothes made of camel's hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.

John also told the people, "Someone more powerful is going to come. And I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!"

About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. As soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a dove. A voice from heaven said, "You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you."


1. A key element in pointing to GOD is assurance. Do you know you are GOD's dear child?! If so, rejoice and boldly go where you are led. If not, what is keeping you from the recognition and acting upon it?

2. There is the issue of the forgiveness of sins. There is a way to have sins forgiven. In this passage it is baptism following confession. To be honest that our sins have gotten the better of us, that they are in charge of our life, is a first step. From there get in touch with someone you are willing to trust and tell them about your sins and ask for baptism or a renewal of your baptism. If Jesus was willing to acknowledge John's baptism of repentance, what makes you think you don't need this same acknowledgment of sin in your life?

3. There is the issue of knowing what it means that GOD is pleased with you. It is a first step on the way to bearing your cross, being so transparent that folks can better see GOD by encountering you and get angry at you for showing them their need for confession and baptism or renewal of their baptism. May your assurance of being a child of GOD give you courage to make it through the temptations to claim privilege.

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