GodSpeak for the Week of January 13…“hIm-Centered”
This week we fast-forward in the story of Jesus a bit, focusing – as we traditionally do this close to Christmas/Epiphany – on our Lord’s baptism.
Day 1…Read Isaiah 43:1-7
- Consider this – normally, when someone talks about themselves too much/uses too many “I” statements, it’s a bad thing (i.e., they appear self-centered).
- Answer this – how many times in this passage does God use His first-person pronoun?
- How does God use His pronoun? Is it about Himself, or something else?
- What does the number of times God uses His first-person pronoun also have to say to us (hint – it’s a number which has great significance in faith).
Day 2…Read Isaiah 43:2
- Consider this – when we talk about Baptism in the Lutheran-Christian tradition, we talk about having our Old Adam and Eves drowned and joined to Christ’s death and resurrection (some very dynamic language).
- Answer this – how does God through Isaiah speak of passing through the waters?
- What promises does He offer in these words (i.e., which absolutely remain true in Baptism)?
Day 3…Read Luke 3:15-16
- Consider this – among Christians of all traditions, there is often disagreement over WHO is making the COMMITMENT in Baptism. For some, it’s the person who makes the commitment. In the Lutheran-Christian tradition we have always emphasized that it’s GOD who is doing the work and making the commitment. It STARTS with HIM.
- Answer this – what’s the distinction John the Baptist is making between the Baptism he offers and the one Christ will offer?
- According to John the Baptist – in just these two verses – who is doing the work/making the effort with the Baptism he offers versus that Christ offers?
Day 4…Read Luke 3:21-22
- Consider this – Luke tells us that “Jesus was baptized too” in v. 21.
- Answer this – but, what two things happened upon Jesus’ Baptism?
- Who was doing the work/making the effort to make these things happen?
Day 5…Read Romans 6:1-11
- Consider this – Paul cuts to the heart of a common misconception folks tend to have about Baptism – namely, that since God has given us UP FRONT the iron-clad promises of forgiveness and eternal life, we are freed to/it’s understandable that we continue to sin.
- Consider this – Paul says, though: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound?” Should we go on sinning to show God is gracious?
- Answer this – based on what Paul is saying here, what can we do in order to honor God’s mercy and promises while minimizing our sinning (FYI – there’s a bit a trick in the answer to this question…look carefully at v. 3 and notice where the power is coming from!)
Day 6…Read Romans 6:1-11 (again)
- Consider this – notice where the power is coming from in places like vv. 3, 4 & 5.
- Answer this – what does this look like practically/in real time to lay claim to this power?
- What does laying claim to this power free you to be able to do and be?