· Acts 8:14-17
· Psalm 29
· Isaiah declares God’s love for his people with these beautiful and intimate words: “I have called you by name, you are mine…you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Spoken to a broken and exiled people, this must have been hard to believe! But these words are also surrounded with the promise of the Lord to accompany his people through the floods and fires that are part of this life.
Luke’s Gospel describes the Baptism of Jesus to affirm and declare the identity of Jesus as the Son of God. He is the mighty one described by John the Baptist who will come with the Holy Spirit and with fire to sort out Israel!
In Acts, Luke continues the story of how the Holy Spirit that came upon Jesus at his Baptism comes upon a group of new believers in Samaria.
Comment: It probably is as difficult for us as it was for the exiled Israelites to trust the news that we are precious, honored, and loved by God. Jesus heard the voice of God declare this love – have you? Yet Jesus sought out the most unlikely candidates of his community to demonstrate the love of God for them: immoral, dishonest, unworthy, diseased, forsaken, and foreign (worshipers of other gods!). We have become so accustomed to these stories, we fail to see the shocking nature of them. God’s love for us is not based on any human sense of worthiness or deserving. This is too radical for most of us to accept. And God loves with a purpose: to conform you and me to the image of his beloved Son.