December 6

Mark 1: 5-8

“I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” vs. 8

Both Jesus and John were significant figures in Roman occupied Judea. Both had a powerful message and each of them gathered a sizable following of disciples. But they were different too, and Mark accents that difference in his account of Jesus’ life. John’s baptism was for his followers a sign of repentance, a declaration that they were changing their lives for good. But Jesus didn’t baptize. He too asked for change. In fact his message was virtually identical to John’s, “Repent, and believe in the good news.” But Jesus added a Divine connection, he immersed his followers with the Holy Spirit, and that difference is enormous. With Jesus the focus shifted from what we are able to do on our own to what we are able to do when empowered with God’s presence. On our own repentance or change is difficult, if not impossible. But when the Holy Spirit of God is at work in us, we are transformed from the inside out. On our own we are powerless, but when equipped by the Spirit, all things become possible. And it happens not by our own understanding or effort but by the sheer gift of God’s grace and the wonderful working of God’s Spirit. Baptism by water is a good thing, a wonderful way to connect our faith with God’s grace, but the world is changed when we are immersed with God’s Spirit.

Thought for the Day: What are the signs of Spirit baptism?

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