Given by Rev. Madison Shockley January 9, 2022 at Pilgrim UCC in Carlsbad CA

The Bible was not written all at once but evolved over thousands of years. Luke used the Gospel of Mark as a starting point and then used other sources to fill out his gospel. After adding the birth narrative, Luke has Jesus growing up quickly.  For the meaning of Jesus’s ministry, the story of Jesus’s baptism is most important. Jesus entered the water as a human being, just like me or you. He was responding to the preaching of John the Baptist. John’s message was to prepare the way for the Holy One. This was not good news for those of privileged. Religion and politics were not separated. John’s message was a threat to those in power. Jesus’s baptism changed his life. The baptism of most individuals are not so dramatic. Most people focus on this ceremony. We often forget that after Jesus was baptized, he prayed and was then baptized with fire. Jesus had not done anything yet. God was proud of Jesus just because he was a child of God. That’s it. That is the same relationship we have with the Divine. We are loved because we are a child of God too. So pray and then listen. Feel the embrace the Spirit. Know that you are a child of God, loved for who you are. Then catch the fire. It is the fire that makes you a Christian. Have a burning desire for justice and freedom. Then you are making a difference. You don’t need to prove you are a child of God. You only need to act like it. Are you on fire for Jesus!