Matthew 3:13-17 | Jesus Plunges into our World of Chaos
This Sunday was Baptism of our Lord Sunday. All around the world, Christians celebrated Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan river. This moment marks the beginning of Jesus’ formal ministry. Why was Jesus baptized? What might it mean for our daily lives?
Bob set the tone for Sunday’s service by telling the story of a hurried conversation with a friend. Like a hundred conversations each of us have had, his conversation felt rushed. His friend moved constantly, perpetually on his way out of the conversation and onto the next thing. But in a moment, the conversation took a weighty turn. And in that turn towards things that mattered, Bob and his friend both sat. They knew the conversation would need a bit more time. God, Bob reminded us, has in Christ, pulled up a chair to our lives. He has entered into our chaos and has invited us to be still and sit with Him.
The water of the Jordan River, into which Jesus is baptized, represented chaos. Early church iconography connects Jesus’ baptism to the creation account in Genesis. In that account, the “water of chaos” is the substance into which God breathes order. To enter into water is to enter into chaos. Baptism embodies both water’s cleansing and chaotic nature. It is a mysterious love that caused God to enter our chaotic world and Jesus’ baptism is a symbolic and real representation of this love. God pulls up a chair to our chaotic world. He refuses to do life without us, even though this will cost God His Only Son.
To flourish as we were intended to, Bob said, requires that we experience and know this truth: that while we were yet sinners, grasping onto anything and everything in order to make sense of the chaos, God pulled up a chair, sat with us, and invited us to rest in Him. As we sit with God and are drawn into His life, we are also drawn towards others who need the peace of Christ in this chaotic world.
This Sunday, as we celebrated the baptism of Christ with Christians around the world, we were reminded that God has pulled up a chair next to us. Let us stop and sit long enough to experience that reality and invite others to know the peace of Christ’s love as well.
Prayers of the People
We offer our prayers for Andrew, Amy and Irene Fields. We ask that you would continue to provide encouragement to them in their ministry in Columbia. Provide wisdom to Andrew as he teaches. Soften hearts that those who hear the gospel will have a willingness to grow in your knowledge.
We pray for those who struggle with depression this time of year. We ask that you would be their refuge in this time is struggle. Walk before them and beside them so that they may reach out to you on their journey of difficult days. Help us all to realize that in you there is joy and the promise of lasting peace.
We thank you, God, for the many ways you strengthen us and reveal your life to us. We thank you for all your protection, also for your protection of our faith and hope. Grant that your Spirit may overwhelm us more and more, enabling us to be your witnesses in a world of discontent. May your Spirit give us hope for this life and for the life to come.
Lord in your mercy...Hear our prayer