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The Baptism of the Lord

Epiphanytide  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  22:28
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The baptism of Jesus was a key transition into his life of ministry. We face our own Jordan River each day as we decide whether to live as God's beloved.

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 2018-01-07 people 3 Epiphanytide 1 The season of Epiphany (or Epiphanytide) extends until Lent, and focuses on the revelation of God’s glory in Christ’s earthly ministry First Sunday after Epiphany – Baptism of the Lord Second Sunday – Calling of the Disciples Third Sunday – Training of Disciples Fourth Sunday – Exhibiting His Power Fifth Sunday – Rejection By His People Last Sunday – Transfiguration Ash Wednesday (the start of Lent) 4 The Baptism of the Lord 1 Matthew 3 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?’ 15 Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptised, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’ 2 John 1 29 The next day John saw Jesus coming towards him and said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.” 31 I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptising with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32 Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. 33 And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptise with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptise with the Holy Spirit.” 34 I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.’ 5 What it meant & what it means 1 When we celebrate the baptism of the Lord, we not only celebrate his baptism but also the meaning of baptism for us today That’s how the Church Calendar works The most prominent image in the story is the Jordan River itself Symbol of transition Where Israel ended their wandering in the wilderness and entered the Promised Land (Joshua 3) For Jesus, it was the turning point from obscurity to public ministry 6 Why did Jesus have to be baptized? 1 The answer Jesus himself gave was ‘… to fulfil all righteousness’ (Mt 3:15) Righteousness here refers to the holiness that John required for baptismal candidates By submitting to baptism, Jesus acknowledged God’s claim on him as on others for obedient living Also: On the cross Jesus was to be identified with the sins of humankind (Gal 3:13), so at the start of 1 2018-01-07 On the cross Jesus was to be identified with the sins of humankind (Gal 3:13), so at the start of his ministry he underwent the symbol of death and resurrection At the end of his ministry he urged baptism upon his followers (Mt 28:19), so here he leads by example 7 Didn’t Jesus already have the Holy Spirit? 1 Yes; Jesus was conceived by the Spirit The baptism was the public declaration that Jesus had God’s Spirit The Jews expected a great outpouring of the Spirit of God in the eschatological messianic age: here was the first fruits Why a dove? Jonah – the preacher of repentance Noah – the story of God’s salvation Jesus was empowered by the Spirit for a ministry of preaching repentance and salvation 8 What did the voice from heaven mean? 1 God’s voice was no longer absent from Israel Denied the rabbinic teaching that after the prophets, God withdrew His voice, leaving only baṯ qôl ’ (“the daughter of the voice”) The content was equally astounding: ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased’ (Jn 1:17) A fusion of two Old Testament texts: Psalm 2:7 and Isaiah 42:1 Psalm 2: The king as ‘son’ of God Isaiah 42: The Suffering Servant Jesus is the messianic king and the suffering servant 9 What it means for us 1 The fundamental human question: Who are you? “I am what I do” “I am what others say about me” “I am what I have” These lead to the rollercoaster life These are the Devil’s temptations in the desert: productivity, popularity, and possessions Jesus resisted on the basis of his identity 10 What it means for us 1 YOU are also the beloved child of the Father, in whom He delights The greatest trap is self-rejection Our daily turning point, our Jordan, is the decision to cling to our belovedness, inaugurated in our own baptism You will still have failures, rejections and losses, but you no longer live as one whose identity is threatened by these things Free like Jesus, proclaiming and practicing the Father’s love wherever you go 2
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