Home Service 26th May 2024

Matthew 3:1-6 John the Baptist Prepares the Way

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”
John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.


In a muddy little river in the desert, Jesus was baptized by his cousin John. To the Mediterranean world at that time, this was an insignificant, unnoticed event. But this scene along an isolated bend of the Jordan River portrayed a key moment in God’s plan of salvation for our fallen world.
Jesus didn’t need John’s baptism of repentance. Unlike those gathered at the Jordan—and us—Jesus was not conceived and born in sin. John must have known this, because he hesitated to baptize Jesus.
So why did Jesus insist on receiving John’s baptism?
In this baptism at the beginning of his ministry, Jesus acknowledges John as the final prophet of the Old Testament preparing the way for the Messiah. And although Jesus was without sin, he identified with the sin and shame each of us face apart from God, shame that ultimately resulted in his death on the cross for our sake.
Because he accepted the shame of our sin, we hear the Father’s voice as Jesus came out of the water: “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Because Jesus took on the shame of our rebellion against God, now God says to us, “You are my child.” Keep this in mind today as you seek to please God!

Jesus, God’s beloved Son, by taking on the shame of our sin, you have made us God’s children. Help us today to please you and the Father, to your glory. Amen.
Bring questions, bring doubts. Bring all that you find hard to understand. Bring all that holds you back from believing. Bring all you think you know. Bring all you long for and all you hold in your heart. Bring everything you are and draw close to the kingdom, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Call to worship based on Psalm 29

The voice of the Lord is mighty in power. It echoes over the waters; it thunders over the waters; it is heard through all creation. So come and give glory to God. Come and worship the God of all the world. Amen

Loving God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we bring to you those times when we have not loved the world as you do: when we have been careless in our protection of the environment, lazy in our faith and unkind in our relationships. Bring us from a place of darkness to a place of light that we might be reborn in hope and joy and commitment. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God the Father, for creating us, for our beautiful world and for the strength of your love: we praise you. Lord Jesus, for your words in Scripture, for your giving of yourself, for the strength of your love: we praise you. Holy Spirit, for your presence in us, for all that you inspire through us and for the strength of your love: we praise you. Amen.

May faith, not certainty, be our strength as we go from this place.
May the Holy Trinity inspire, uphold and challenge us to think more deeply, to act more kindly and to love more widely.


Suggested Listening All that is within me, Lord https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZxsOYVhO-4 Father, we adore you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXgk20xpBN8 How shall I sing that majesty? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKSzxQmjC2w

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