BaptC19. Isaiah 40:1-2, 9-11. God makes the way ready for his people to return from their captivity in Babylon. God is the glorious savior of his people who benefit from their God’s power. He is not only awesome but gentle, loving and caring. “Like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs, carrying them in his bosom, and leading the ewes with care.”
Luke 3:15-16, 21-22. The people were captivated by the severe holiness of John, asking him if he might be the messiah. “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming.” Continuing on, he said, “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The Messiah who is to come will give the Holy Spirit to lead the people to repentance while those who do not repent will be burned and consumed by an ‘unquenchable fire.’ In Mark’s and Matthew’s gospels Jesus is baptized by John; but in Luke’s gospel, Jesus is baptized after John’s ministry has ended because John has already been imprisoned by Herod before Jesus was baptized (Luke 3:20-21). In Luke’s Gospel after John’s ministry ended, Jesus’ ministry began. After Jesus “had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son, with you I am well pleased.’” The presence of God, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father’s verbal affirmation testified that this person, Jesus who appeared to the people, only in earthly human form is truly the divine Son of God. At Jesus’ death when “the centurion and the men with him who keeping watch over Jesus experienced the earthquake” and all the calamitous events that were happening, “they said, ‘truly, this was the Son of God!’”(Matthew 27:54) Jesus was the divine son of God, spoken of in the baptismal formula: “in the name of the Father and of the Son, and the holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19); but at the same he was the human son of God and of Mary. (Luke 1:35) Jesus
was and is both human and divine. In his divinity the Son of God had no beginning, since divinity cannot be created; in his humanity he did have a beginning, then an end in his death on the cross and then a new beginning in his resurrection with a glorified body. Adam is called son of God because he was created by God to be a human being in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26 & Luke 3:38b). However, Adam had no existence before God created him, as did the Son of God.
Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7. Grace in Hebrew is said to mean favor, i.e. that is one who is graced has found favor with God. When, as Jesus says, “you are in me and I in you (John 14:20b), Jesus shares himself with us, i.e. his life, his love, his knowledge, his power, so that we grow more and more in the image and likeness of God. As I understand it, grace is that sharing of his divine self with us. In John 15:4a, Jesus says, “Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.” In John 15:7, Jesus says, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask for whatever you want and it will be done for you.” “Because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior so that we might be justified by his grace.”
Psalm 104. “O Lord, my God, you are great indeed! You are clothed with majesty and glory.” The Lord has shown by the infinite goodness of his works how glorious he is! Without him there is nothing that is good. “When you send forth your spirit,” “you renew the face of the earth.”