Wednesday after the Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord
Posted on January 8, 2020 byunder
Scripture: St. Mark 1:1-8 (NKJV)
1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the Prophets:
“Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.”
3 “The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’”
4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begins with a cry forbidding resistance to His entry, bidding His reception. How shall we make straight His way and smooth His path? By giving up life’s comforts and pleasures, like John? John still said, “[Christ’s] sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.” Even in John’s preaching and applying water, the strength is in the Coming One, who actually pours out the Holy Spirit through it.
The Coming One both earns and pours out the forgiveness of sins that those who come confessing must have to welcome Him aright. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit through the means of His Word and Sacraments so that the faith of the penitent is in Him and His work that earns forgiveness for all.
To those who had not perfectly waited with lives of obedient expectation for Messiah’s coming, John cries out what is necessary—the removal of what stands in the way of Messiah judging you as righteous—and both proclaims and dispenses it through the means which God provides. “He that believes and is baptized shall see the Lord’s salvation; Baptized into the death of Christ, he is a new creation. Through Christ’s redemption he shall stand among the glorious heavenly band of every tribe and nation.” (TLH 301:1)
“With one accord, O God, we pray: Grant us Thy Holy Spirit; look Thou on our infirmity through Jesus’ blood and merit. Grant us to grow in grace each day that by this Sacrament we may eternal life inherit.” Amen. (TLH 301:2)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.