The Gift of the Spirit of Jesus

Everyone in Judea and all the people of Jerusalem went out to the Jordan River and were being baptized by John as they confessed their sins. John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. He announced, ”One stronger than I am is coming after me. I’m not even worth to bend over and loosen the strap of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. About that time Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordon River. While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”
~ Mark 1:5-11

At his birth Jesus received the worldly gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. At his baptism Jesus received the gift of the Spirit. The first gifts probably helped Joseph get his family to Egypt and away from Herod. The gift of the Spirit was with Jesus throughout his life for guidance, comfort, and encouragement. Which gift would you prefer in this new year, 2021?

The coming of Jesus marks a decisive shift in the universe, a challenge to all other powers (even to the power of wealth and worldly goods). Then and now, the powers that be meet resistance with oppression and violence. We see the shadow of the cross from the beginning of the story. What does it mean to worship this One who reorders the world and our steps?
~ Janet Wolf

I sought him dressed in finest clothes,
where money talks and status grows,
but power and wealth he never chose,
it seemed he lived in poverty.
~ John Bell

The coming of the Spirit was a permanent anointing…What an amazing affirmation of Jesus’ true identity. What a powerful anointing for the ministry that Jesus was about to begin. What tremendous spiritual fortification for the trials and tribulations that he would all too soon face…The baptism of Jesus brings attention to God’s affirmation of us as God’s children and our anointing for ministry in our baptism.
~ Robert V. Dodd

Father is heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Grant that all who are baptized into his name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns. One God, in glory everlasting. Amen
~ Book of Common Prayer

When Jesus came to Jordan to be baptized b y John,
he did not come for pardon but as the sinless one.
He cam to share repentance with all who mourn their sins,
to speak the vital sentence with which good news begins.

He came to share temptation, our utmost woe and loss,
for us and our salvation to die upon the cross.
So when the dove descended on him, the Son of Man,
the hidden years had ended, the age of grace began.

Come, Holy Spirit, aid us to keep the vows we make;
this very day invade us, and every bondage break.
Come, give our lives direction, the gift we covet most:
to share the resurrection that leads to Pentecost.
~ Fred Pratt Green

These reflections are for use during the week of January 10-16, 2021 and based on the lectionary for January 10.

Joyce D. Sohl


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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