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Sunday, April 23, 2017

Daily Devotion for April 23, 2017


Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Giotto c. 1305
Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, Giotto c. 1305

Prayers

Scripture

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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.

Amen.



Prayer of St. Chrysostom

Almighty God, Who has given us grace at this time with one accord to make our common supplications unto thee and does promise that when two or three are gathered together in Thy name you will grant their requests; fulfill now, O Lord, the desires and petitions of your servants, as may be most expedient for them; granting us in this world knowledge of your truth, and in the world to come life everlasting,

Amen.

For Forgiveness

Almighty Father; I enter your presence confessing the things I try to conceal from you and the things I try to conceal from others. I confess the heartbreak, worry, and sorrow I have caused, that make it difficult for others to forgive me; the times I have made it easy for others to do wrong; and the harm I have done that makes it hard for me to forgive myself. Lord have mercy on me, and forgive me for all my sins against you and against others. And teach the grace to forgive others to all who ask for it, through the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ,

Amen.

To Live in Union with Christ

Loving God, I am just beginning to realize how much you love me. Your son, Jesus was humble and obedient. He fulfilled your will for him by becoming human and suffering with us. I ask you for the desire to become more humble so that my own life might also bear witness to you. I want to use the small sufferings I have in this world to give you glory.

Please, Lord, guide my mind with your truth. Strengthen my life by the example of Jesus. Help me to be with Jesus in this week as he demonstrates again his total love for me. He died so that I would no longer be separated from you. Help me to feel how close you are and to live in union with you.

Amen.

Affirmation

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip us with every good thing that we may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever.

Amen.


(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.


Devotional painting of John the Baptist by Titian
John the Baptist by Titian, c. 1540

Courage

Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are stiffened.

~ Billy Graham


Blue Latin Cross

Mark 1:1-15 (ESV)

The Good News

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”



Notes on the Scripture

T

he beliefs and practices concerning baptism vary widely among Christian denominations. Several — notably the Quakers and the Salvation Army — neither believe it is necessary nor practice the ritual. A great many (such as the Catholic and Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist communions) believe that baptism is necessary to salvation and that an actual transformation takes place. Others, notably Baptists, do not believe it to be a sacrament, but practice it as an act of Christian obedience.

Baptism, basically, means a cleansing. It derives from a Greek word meaning “to immerse”, and indeed, many Christians perform baptism by totally immersing the person in water. The Greek word also applied to less dramatic cleansing by water, such as dipping one's hands in water to clean them before a meal. So when a person is baptized, he is generally cleansed with water to correlate with the cleansing of the soul from sin by Christ's grace. It represents the moment when a person is shown to be reborn in Christ's grace, either symbolically (as a discipline to show that one has been reborn) or sacramentally (that is, an outward and visible sign of an actual simultaneous spiritual event).

Jesus' baptism by a non-divine human (John the Baptist) has agitated theologians for two thousand years. How can Christ, who was born without sin, be baptized at all, much less by a mortal man “not worthy to untie His sandals”?

Well, who knows? God is not limited by human logic and cannot be understood by it. Logic is a limitation of the human mind. Clearly, the event marked a milestone in Christ's life; it was the point at which he emerges from his youth and begins his full-time mission of teaching, a three-year journey ending in His death, resurrection, and ascension. Equally clearly, Christ's baptism demonstrates that the three persons of God are acting in harmony.



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Memory Verse

Mark 9:40: He who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.


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