Home > Reading > Daily Reading – January 7, 2024

The Baptism of Our Lord

Dear friends, greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus. Today marks the first Sunday after the Epiphany, a time in the life of the Church when we focus on and celebrate the revelation of God offered to us in Jesus. It also marks the final day of our devotional series that has led us from the beginning of the season of Advent to this time when we begin to look more closely at the life and ministry of Christ.
The theme we’ve been following, “Echoes and Epiphanies,” is one that speaks of how all of Scripture offers reminders and insights into who God is and how much we are loved in Jesus. From the opening chapters of the Bible, the stories of how this world was created and by whom, until the closing words of Scripture that point to the “new heavens and the new earth” that will one day be the home where we will live eternally with God, those echoes are heard and those epiphanies are given, all centered and secured and offered to us in Christ.
Today’s story of the Baptism of our Lord, and the words of John the Baptist, serve as a clear reminder of how God has been working out His saving plan in Jesus from the beginning of time. “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before’” (John 1:29–30).
Looking back in history, it all points to God’s Son. Looking forward to where it’s going, all roads lead us to Christ. All of human history revolves around Jesus. All of salvation history is built and secured in Him. History is marked by B.C. and A.D.—before the life of Jesus and after He died and rose again. Even the Scriptures themselves, the Old and New Testaments, they are all connected to Jesus. They all find their focal point in Christ.
If ever you wonder about the purpose of life and where this world is heading, you need look no further than to what God has done and is doing in Jesus. If ever you worry about what’s happening in your own life and what will happen when your years on this earth come to an end, you need look no further than to what God has planned and purposed and promised for you in His Son.
And so it is, as we bring this devotional series to a close, that our theme helps us to understand how this all works, and where and in whom we find our hope. “Echoes and Epiphanies”; God’s saving voice resounding throughout all of history. God’s purpose and plan and promise revealed most clearly in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
May God’s voice and revelation lead you in life. As you continue to build your life, make Jesus the focal point of it, until that great day when He calls us all home.

Prayer: Let us pray. Lord God, we give You thanks and praise for all You have done for us in Jesus, and for the security and assurance and comfort we find in Him. Help us, each day, to listen to Your voice, given to us in the Bible and revealed to us in Christ. May those echoes lead us to new epiphanies, as we build our lives on what You have promised and purposed and planned in Him, in whose name we pray. Amen.

Devotion written by the Rev. Dr. Daniel W. Selbo

This daily prayer and Bible reading guide, Devoted to Prayer (based on Acts 2:42), was conceived and prepared by the Rev. Andrew S. Ames Fuller, director of communications for the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). After several challenging years in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been provided with a unique opportunity to revitalize the ancient practice of daily prayer and Scripture reading in our homes. While the Reading the Word of God three-year lectionary provided a much-needed and refreshing calendar for our congregations to engage in Scripture reading, this calendar includes a missing component of daily devotion: prayer. This guide is to provide the average layperson and pastor with the simple tools for sorting through the busyness of their lives and reclaiming an act of daily discipleship with their Lord. The daily readings follow the Lutheran Book of Worship two-year daily lectionary, which reflect the church calendar closely. The commemorations are adapted from Philip H. Pfatteicher’s New Book of Festivals and Commemorations, a proposed common calendar of the saints that builds from the Lutheran Book of Worship, but includes saints from many of those churches in ecumenical conversation with the NALC. The introductory portion is adapted from Christ Church (Plano)’s Pray Daily. Our hope is that this calendar and guide will provide new life for congregations learning and re-learning to pray in the midst of a difficult and changing world.

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