Daily Devotion – February 17, 2021 – Dr. Pat Taylor Ellison

Mark 1:9-15
1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
1:10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.
1:11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
1:12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.
1:13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
1:14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God,
1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

In these few verses, think how many events are strung together like beads on a necklace:

1.      Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan.

2.      The Trinity appeared together, at least to Jesus: Jesus, with the Spirit like a dove upon him, and the voice of God the Creator and Father, declaring Jesus God’s son with whom God was well-pleased.

3.      The Spirit immediately drove Jesus into the wilderness with the wild beasts, tempted by Satan and cared for by angels.

4.      John is arrested.

5.      Jesus begins his ministry, proclaiming the Kingdom of God has come near.

In a handful of verses Jesus’s identity and relationship with God is named, tested, and cemented, a mission for his life is declared, and he sets out upon it, despite his cousin’s imprisonment for doing a similar thing. In a matter of weeks all of these things take place.

Has any of us had such a significant couple of months? In my life, at least, most big changes like these have occurred over a much longer time span.  But once in awhile we are faced with big changes that require big responses from us. I have cousins who have adopted two children out of the foster care system. And some of those decisions must take place initially in a matter of hours. They are an amazing family, and I respect their ability to be able to accommodate changes exactly when they are needed. Because they have done so, they have created space for a couple of wonderful children to have a safe and full life. The blessings are enormous.

What gives people like my cousins and Jesus the courage to go ahead? It doesn’t hurt to know who and whose you are. My cousins are people of faith, and they know it is their God-given calling to be adoptive/foster parents. Jesus knew who he was from a youngster onward. To have his identity confirmed at his baptism let him know he could take the risk of living out is mission and ministry because God would be with him, with the Beloved Son.

If you knew, for sure, that you were a beloved child of God, what might you be bold enough to do? To risk? Because you ARE a beloved child of God. You are.

Lord God, Thank you for loving us. Thank you for making each of us your beloved children. Help us to take that status and not just assume it and tuck it away in a box with our baptismal certificate. Help us to be bold and do what you call us to do, knowing that you have our backs.      Amen.