Our sermon text yesterday was Mark 1:4-11:
John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw uthe heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
One member reflected on the sermon this way. Excellent words
Have you ever noticed how we Americans like to put a good spin on everything? We just love our happy endings. Just ask Disney; they can take the most grim children’s story and slap on a happy ending. Just think what they would do to today’s lesson. They would not leave John just standing there after our Lord’s baptism. They would bring the scene back to John for his baptism by Jesus. What a happy ending…..no?
Why is the Word absent on John’s baptism? What if it had this new ending? Our focus would turn Jesus’ baptism from the Spirit’s work to man’s work. What would happen to confession and forgiveness? Again, we wouldn’t see God’s saving work in this event.
Is there a happy ending? Yes, of course but not of our telling but the Lords. First we must find our broken place, the place that we hide our sins and scratch them up to the surface to be exposed to God’s mercy. Our story is not just about the happy ending but the unhappy sin which dwells within us. Once that story is uncovered by us and laid at the foot of the cross then God can forgive. Just when we are emptied God can fill us.
Let’s look again at this ending; “You are my Son, whom I love: with you I am well pleased.” Now that we have emptied ourselves we can take on Jesus’ cloak of forgiveness and completion and hear these words afresh. Now that’s a happy ending.
Thank you for these insightful words.