Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Baptism of the Lord - Mark 1:7-11 - "What's in a name?

When a child is presented for Baptism, the parents are asked, “What name do you give

your child?”  The answer just doesn’t establish the child’s identity and heritage as members of this family, but, is a proclamation by the father and mother that this child is their son or daughter.  The child will forever be recognized by the name given them and as the son or daughter of this father and mother.   They are established as members of this family and of these people: parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters.  

The identity of each member of the family changes with the naming of a child.  The parents are no longer Joe and Samantha, but Chris or Abbey’s parents.  You are referred to as Noel’s Mother or Riccardo’s Father.  In your own home you are called Mom and Dad.  You become Vinnie’s Aunt or Jessie’s Uncle or Susie’s brother or that sister of Kevin.  We each are changed in naming of a child.  

The name of a child too has importance in its meaningfulness.  Was the name chosen because it has a specific meaning that you hope will tell the world more about who your child is and the family to whom they are a part?  Is it a name that is strong and masculine or beautiful and feminine?  Is it a hopeful or joyful name?  Or is it a name that honors someone from the family or a person the parents admire?

The name Jesus is the name given him by God, his Father.  The angel, when calming Joseph’s fears upon learning that Mary, his betrothed was with child, told Joseph to name the child Jesus, “. . . because he will save his people from their sins.”  Jesus is Savior, ‘God with us’, Emmanuel.  The name given him by his Father is the name above all names, by which every knee shall bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth.

When Jesus comes to the Jordan, presenting himself for baptism by John, God claims Jesus as His Son, announcing, “This is my beloved Son; with whom I am well please.”  With this proclamation, Jesus is claimed and established as God’s Son; the fulfillment of His covenant with His people to bring us salvation and everlasting life.

Just as in the naming of a child all the members of the family are changed, we brothers and sisters of Jesus are also changed.   As Son, Jesus calls God, Father.  For us now, God is no longer a distant God, a God removed from the lives of his people, but now comes into an intimate personal relationship with us, as Father, through His Son, Jesus.  

We move into a closer relationship with God, as Father, in the name of Jesus, as his brothers and sisters.  
In Jesus’ name, we are now claimed as sons and daughters by our heavenly Father.  
In Jesus’ name, we too call God, our Father, as we are his beloved children.
In the Father and the Son and in the Holy Spirit we are truly sister and brother to one another because of the name of Jesus. ~Amen

Deacon Don

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