BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 NRSV
As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.D
PRAYERS & QUESTIONS:
Sunday: Luke 3:15
Dear Jesus, I am thankful that you are with me, even when I am filled with questions. Help me to bring all of my questions to you. Amen.
Have you ever questioned something in your heart? What was that experience like? What do you remember about John from earlier in our story? Why do you think he reappears here?
Monday: Luke 3:16a
Dear God, I thank you for forgiving my sins, again and again and again. Help me to lead a life worthy of you. Amen.
John’s baptism was a simple washing away of current sins. It was something that people repeated again and again over the course of a lifetime. How does this differ from what you believe about baptism?
Tuesday: Luke 3:16b
Dear God, send your Holy Spirit into my life. Be as close to me as my every breath. Amen.
What do you think it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire? What is the difference between being washed with water and purified with fire? In what ways do you think the Holy Spirit is active in you?
Wednesday: Luke 3:17
Dear Jesus, you take away the sin of the world. Have mercy on me. Amen.
John’s statement here mirrors farming practices in Bible times. Why do you think he compares our lives in God to this practice? What part of you needs to be shucked away?
Thursday: Luke 3:21a
Dear Jesus, stir up my faith in you, that I may use the gifts you give to help a hurting world. Amen.
Have you ever been to a worship service where multiple people were baptized or confirmed? What was that experience like? What would it have been like to be baptized on the same day as Jesus?
Friday: Luke 3:21b-22a
Dear God, all of your creation is connected, and we are only a part of the whole. Help us to widen our gaze, that we may see all the ways in which you show up in our lives. Amen.
When Jesus was baptized, something different happened. The heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. Why do you think this happened? Tell about a time when you experienced the heavens opening (like a big storm), or something from the natural world reminded you of God.
Saturday: Luke 3:22b
Dear Jesus, I thank you for the gift of baptism. Help me to claim my identity as “beloved,” and do that which is well-pleasing in your sight. Amen.
When Jesus was baptized, God spoke out loud. What do you think it means that in baptism, you are a child of God who is beloved, with whom God is well pleased?