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The Third Week in February

We Read…

Frequently, when we read about the flood that Noah and his family lived through, we’re tempted to focus only on the chaos that came with the waters and the death that awaited the remainder of the world. Sometimes, we’re left asking why God would choose to flood the earth. Have you ever asked God big questions like this before? Either about this story or in your own life? It’s always good to ask big questions, but it’s important to also look at God’s nature through all of Scripture to help us shed light on what may confuse us in stories like this. We often forget God’s desire to redeem God’s people and see them live lives that reflect God’s nature. This is the major theme we see from these four passages. We find God is a faithful and redemptive promise keeper, leading us to grow in God’s way.Having realized that God’s people needed redemption in a different way, God came to humanity in the person of Jesus. This shows us that God is always reaching for us, always desiring for us to be in a relationship with God. Through Jesus’ baptism in today’s passage in Mark and the rest of his life found in the scriptures, God shows us his ways by leading us in an example. Jesus shows us what living a life marked by God’s grace means.

Genesis 9:8–17 

8 God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “I am now setting up my covenant with you, with your descendants, 10 and with every living being with you—with the birds, with the large animals, and with all the animals of the earth, leaving the ark with you.11 I will set up my covenant with you so that never again will all life be cut off by floodwaters. There will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.” 

12 God said, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I am drawing up between me and you and every living thing with you, on behalf of every future generation. 13 I have placed my bow in the clouds; it will be the symbol of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember the covenant between me and you and every living being among all the creatures. Floodwaters will never again destroy all creatures. 16 The bow will be in the clouds, and upon seeing it I will remember the enduring covenant between God and every living being of all the earth’s creatures.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the symbol of the covenant that I have set up between me and all creatures on earth.”

Psalm 25:1–10

1 I offer my life to you, LORD. 

     2 My God, I trust you. 

    Please don’t let me be put to shame! 

     Don’t let my enemies rejoice 

      over me! 

    3 For that matter, 

     don’t let anyone who hopes in you 

      be put to shame; 

     instead, let those who are treacherous 

      without excuse be put to shame. 

    4 Make your ways known to me, 


     teach me your paths. 

    5 Lead me in your truth— 

     teach it to me— 

     because you are the God 

      who saves me. 

      I put my hope in you all day long. 

    6 LORD, remember your compassion 

     and faithful love— 

     they are forever! 

    7 But don’t remember the sins 

     of my youth or my wrongdoing. 

     Remember me only 

      according to your faithful love 

      for the sake of your goodness, LORD. 

    8 The LORD is good and does the right thing; 

     he teaches sinners which way 

      they should go. 

    9 God guides the weak to justice, 

     teaching them his way. 

    10 All the LORD’s paths 

     are loving and faithful 

     for those who keep his covenant 

      and laws.

1 Peter 3:18–22 

18 Christ himself suffered on account of sins, once for all, the righteous one on behalf of the unrighteous. He did this in order to bring you into the presence of God. Christ was put to death as a human, but made alive by the Spirit. 19 And it was by the Spirit that he went to preach to the spirits in prison. 20 In the past, these spirits were disobedient—when God patiently waited during the time of Noah. Noah built an ark in which a few (that is, eight) lives were rescued through water. 21 Baptism is like that. It saves you now—not because it removes dirt from your body but because it is the mark of a good conscience toward God. Your salvation comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at God’s right side. Now that he has gone into heaven, he rules over all angels, authorities, and powers.

Mark 1:9–15 

9 About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 While he was coming up out of the water, Jesus saw heaven splitting open and the Spirit, like a dove, coming down on him. 11 And there was a voice from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.” 

12 At once the Spirit forced Jesus out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among the wild animals, and the angels took care of him. 

14 After John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee announcing God’s good news, 15 saying, “Now is the time! Here comes God’s kingdom! Change your hearts and lives, and trust this good news!”

We Think…

  • What stands out to you in these verses?

  • Does anything confuse you or not make sense? 

  • How do these verses compare to your own experience in life or the church?

  • What are you considering?

  • What questions come to mind?

We Feel…

  • What emotions are you experiencing today?

  • How are you making space for these feelings?

  • Where have you seen God today or this week?

  • What is pointing you to God (maybe it is something in creation, a friend or adult that cares for you)?

  • What has God made new in your life? In your heart? 

  • Are you trusting in God’s ways today? 

  • How does it make you feel to know that God has provided you an example of living for Him by sending Jesus?

We Believe…

Our ultimate goal as followers of Jesus is to be more like him, to follow in his ways. Today, in Mark, we find that Jesus was baptized. But what is baptism? Is it something that’s important for us as believers? Simply put, baptism is an “outward sign of an inward grace.” Baptism reflects to those around us that God’s grace has been extended to us and that in our lives, transformation is possible! Our baptism says, “I was once dead in sin, but because of God and His grace, I have been transformed and now live in Him.” It’s important to know, too, that when Jesus was baptized, he wasn’t confessing some secret sin that his followers didn’t know about. Instead, Jesus was identifying himself with all of humanity. In being baptized, Jesus partnered with us and showed his followers what it means to live a life marked by God’s grace while we walk this earth. Jesus has given us an example to live by! Throughout his entire life, Jesus showed us how to live in God’s ways.

We Practice…

Take a few moments this week to consider what living in God’s ways means for you. This may mean reflecting on your life and asking yourself, 

  • Do my actions look like something Jesus would do?

  • Am I living like God has redeemed and transformed me? 

  • If not, what decisions can you make today that would encourage you to walk in God’s ways? 

Maybe you’re interested in following Jesus’ ways by being baptized. Talk to a trusted adult about this! Maybe you’ve already been baptized; take some time this week to reflect on what baptism means for you. Think about what it means to live in a relationship with a loving and redeeming God.