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The Baptism of Jesus

Collect prayer

Eternal Father, who at the baptism of Jesus revealed him to be your Son, anointing him with the Holy Spirit: grant to us, who are born again by water and the Spirit, that we may be faithful to our calling as your adopted children; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

Bible Reading

Matthew 3.13-17 Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness." Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."


Lack of self confidence and self esteem is a problem of huge proportions in our society today. Many people are damaged by their own view of themselves and are prevented from taking advantage of the opportunities available to them. If we suffer from a lack of self worth then we can never achieve the possibilities which are open to us. Psychologists tell us that lack of self esteem has its origins in a person not feeling unconditionally loved. If we never received all the love which we needed as children for example, then we can feel inadequate and unworthy for the rest of our lives. If we suffered from living with an abusive partner, or perhaps just somebody who undermined our efforts, then we can come to believe harsh and cruel things which are said about us.

So Jesus hears some beautiful words which are spoken by the father as Jesus presents himself for baptism. "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Oh that all parental responses were as encouraging. Love transforms, absolute love transforms absolutely. For Jesus and those around him, it was clearly of vital significance that he received the seal of approval from God, which was to energise and empower him to fulfil his ministry.

We need to hear those same words ourselves. To know that God looks fondly upon us and cares for us. We need to be reassured that God takes delight in just our being and not just what we do. Actually the words of Jesus are full of assurance of just that fact. Jesus takes great effort to teach that even sparrows are known individually by God. The life of Jesus was one in which he constantly welcomed and accepted people around him, even when they didn't show any response to him. The very ones that we might have expected Jesus to turn away, the thieves, prostitutes, lepers - these were the ones he went most out of his way to show compassion towards. Indeed the only people Jesus seemed to be critical of were those who were 'holier than thou' and who considered themselves better than everybody else.

So we need to hear those words addressed to Jesus addressed to ourselves. Our self esteem must not depend on the picture other people have of us, but rather the picture which Jesus has of us. God does not pick and choose, he loves all of his children equally, he has made us all different and unique, handbuilt by God to be loved by him. Whenever we feel let down, ashamed, or worthless, may we discover with Jesus the love of God surrounding and upholding us.

 

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