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Summary: We can’t find meaning & proclaim truth if we are not plugged into the Holy Spirit, yet so many Christians try to live without any relationship or even contact with the Spirit of God.

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Mark 1:4-11 & or John 1:29-36

Some things are just obvious aren’t they? Yet sometimes we act in a way that seems to deny common sense. For instance we drive sometimes without thinking properly about where we are going, almost on automatic pilot; do you know what I mean? Sometimes I’ve got in the car & started driving to somewhere, & found that I arrive somewhere completely different! It happened to me the other week; I started out for Nechells in the City & somehow find myself reversing my car into parking space here at Sutton Coldfield South Parade!

That happened because we humans are creatures of habit, & we end up doing lots of things without thinking about them very much.

Another example in my life was when we had no electricity at our first home while we were waiting for it to be rewired, & I just kept trying to flick the light switches even though I knew the power was off at the mains – you ever done that one?

That last illustration is true you know in the spiritual life too, we can’t shine for God unless the power is switched on. We can’t find meaning & proclaim truth if we are not plugged in to the main source of power, namely God the Holy Spirit. Yet so many Christians try to live without any relationship or even contact with the Spirit of God.

God is the creator & sustainer of all creation - indeed the scripture teaches us that without God the whole thing would come crashing down. If the universe itself cannot run without a power source, then why would we think we can?

We see this principle at work in Jesus’ own life. In our reading (Mark 1 or John 1) where we seem to have jumped so soon after Christmas from Jesus a baby in a manger to Jesus a young adult presenting Himself for baptism, but for Mark (John) the ministry of Jesus, & so the gospel begins here not in the manger at all.

For most of his first 30 years Jesus lived in Nazareth, but we know very little about his life there. He was probably a carpenter who lived a pretty peaceful ordinary existence. Then Jesus left that life behind & began His ministry. He Left the comfort & security of Nazareth to begin travelling, a journey that we know would ultimately lead to the cross of Calvary.

At the same time the gospels tell us that John is living in the wilderness, baptizing in the Jordan River, & that people are flocking to him. Perhaps they were unsettled & aware that there must be more to life than they were experiencing in the city. Perhaps they were aware that their lives had become very secular & that God had been neglected.

They are urged to repent & John baptizes them, but in amongst the crowd seeking forgiveness & a new start from their sin soaked lives was one who did not need to be baptised, because Jesus didn’t need to repent!

Jesus, unlike all other humans, had never turned from God. He was sinless so had nothing to repent of. So why is Jesus doing this?

Well Jesus too is leaving His old life behind & like the crowd is seeking to be obedient to God - surrendering to God’s will for his life. So, despite John’s objections, Jesus was baptized to show us all that He does stand in our place.

Then right after He was baptized something important happened: the sky was torn apart & heaven broke through. The power of the Holy Spirit is sent from God the Father & descends on & fills the Son, & then God says "You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased."

The Greek Orthodox Church has a wonderful saying: ‘we can become what we already are’ & that is true for us as it was true for Jesus that day. At His baptism Jesus accepted that He is the long awaited Messiah, the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world. He also received the power of Holy Spirit.

We need to understand that Jesus was born the Son of God - God Almighty in the flesh, & He didn’t need this infusion of power to work miracles etc. One of the early heresies was that Jesus was just a man & only became or took on the divine later at for instance His baptism. That is not true in any sense, He was that power incarnate. His baptism is all about Jesus standing in our place & we do need to be obedient to God as he was, we do need to be baptised & we do need the power of the Holy Spirit. Without that power of God flowing through us the lights of our life won’t come on because the power is off.

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