FIRST READING: Genesis (1:1-5)
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
> Focus on the voice of God
> First of two great stories of creation
> “Spirit of God” – “Word of God” – divine wind
> Most likely – meaning strong wind.
1 Ascribe to the Lord, you gods, *
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his Name; *
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters;
the God of glory thunders; *
the Lord is upon the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is a powerful voice; *
the voice of the Lord is a voice of splendor.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedar trees; *
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon;
6 He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, *
and Mount Hermon like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord splits the flames of fire;
the voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; *
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the oak trees writhe *
and strips the forests bare.
9 And in the temple of the Lord *
all are crying, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sits enthroned above the flood;*
the Lord sits enthroned as King for evermore.
11 The Lord shall give strength to his people; *
the Lord shall give his people the blessing of peace.
> Verses one and two are a call to prayer including the “other gods.”
> The clap of thunder is the voice of God (Yahweh).
> The thunder is repeated several times.
> The storm progresses from the Mediterranean, to Lebanon, to Israel, and finally to the temple.
> The people are overwhelmed, but God sits peaceably above all the commotion.
SECOND READING: Acts (19:1-7)
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied—altogether there were about twelve of them.
> These verses tie in with the baptism of Jesus.
> Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew who had converted to Christianity.
> He did not always get his facts straight as he used the baptism of John instead of Jesus.
> Only many years later after these verses were written were people baptized in the name of the Trinity.
The Holy Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Mark (1:4-11)
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 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. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
> We already had verses four through eight in our Advent readings.
> Verses one to eight show John as a pre-cursor to Jesus.
> Mark’s version is different than Matthew and Luke’s in regards to Jesus’ baptism.
> In Mark, only Jesus hears the voice of God.
> Jesus seeing the heavens opening up represent a new event coming.
> Doves are not a part of Jewish heritage, however they do appear in the Noah’s ark story about the flood.
> Psalm (2:7) “You are my son.” The title of Messiah is not yet related to God at that time.