First Sunday after Epiphany
Baptism and Prayer
A long time ago I was taught to avoid blending together the different Gospel accounts for a Sunday worship service. Each Gospel brings its own perspective about the life and ministry of Jesus. Sometimes there is a strong temptation to blend stories from different Gospels together to make a more complete picture. While there are often similarities, there are also differences in the ways that the Gospels report about Jesus.
Today we let Luke tell the story of Jesus’ baptism: “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened” (Luke 3:21). Luke gave no details. You could say that Luke looked at Jesus’ baptism in a rearview mirror, as a past event. He described the event as simply as possible. Luke never specified that John baptized Jesus.
Baptism was one event in Jesus’ life. Luke gave equal emphasis to Jesus’ baptism and to his praying afterward. For worship today, think about Jesus praying.
Praying involved all of Jesus’ life. The Gospel of Luke recorded at least five other times when Jesus prayed to God. In Luke 11:1 the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.
We don’t know what Jesus prayed after his baptism. He was blessed and affirmed by the voice from heaven: “With you I am well pleased.”
What are you praying for today? May you be blessed and affirmed in your life.
Bruce Weaknecht, pastor, Egg Harbor City Moravian Church
Egg Harbor City, New Jersey