Scripture: And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. Mark 1:4-5 (NIV)
Sometimes, when we meet a friend we may say, "What's new?" It has only been a couple of weeks since Christmas, so if I were to ask you, "What's New?" you would probably have a lot to tell me about. (If time permits, allow the children to tell about something new that they have.) All of us like new things, don't we? Don't you just love the look and feel of new clothes? Well maybe children don't get as excited about new clothes as we adults do, but I am sure you get excited about new toys! You have probably spent hours playing with the new toys you received for Christmas.
One thing I really enjoy is a new beginning. We are at the beginning of a new year. What an exciting time! It is a chance to start over. It is a time to try to do things better than we did last year.
Today, we are going to talk about another new beginning. It is better than the beginning of a new year -- it is the beginning of a new life. A new life in Jesus.
In the Bible we read about a man called John the Baptist. John went all around the countryside in Judea telling people to repent and ask God to forgive them of their sins. When they confessed their sin and asked God to forgive them, John baptized them in the river Jordan. They were baptized to show the world that God had forgiven their sins and they were washed clean. This was a new beginning for them. Even Jesus himself went to John the Baptist and was baptized by him.
We still baptize people today. Perhaps some of you have been baptized. When we are baptized, it is a picture of what Jesus has done for us. He died, was buried, and rose again to wash away our sin and give us a new life in him. Now, that's what I call a new beginning!
Dear Father, we thank you that Jesus, who was without sin, washes away our sins and gave us a new life. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.