Witnesses to Baptism

Stained_glass_window_depicting_Episcopal_baptismBaptism of the Lord (January 8, 2017)


Acts 10:34-43 | New Living Translation (NLT)

Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right. This is the message of Good News for the people of Israel—that there is peace with God through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee, after John began preaching his message of baptism. And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

“And we apostles are witnesses of all he did throughout Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a cross, but God raised him to life on the third day. Then God allowed him to appear, not to the general public, but to us whom God had chosen in advance to be his witnesses. We were those who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he ordered us to preach everywhere and to testify that Jesus is the one appointed by God to be the judge of all—the living and the dead. He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”


Today is the Sunday known as the baptism of Jesus.  Traditionally it has been believed that Jesus baptism signified the beginning of his ministry.  The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) all record Jesus baptism and John at least alludes to it.  If we look at Peter’s sermon from Acts which is above, we see that this is important.  The baptism of Jesus, Peter states, is where Jesus was anointed by God with Holy Spirit and with power.  It was the beginning of Jesus preaching the Good News – that is the Gospel. This season between Christmas and Easter even describes the Good News.  Jesus came to be God with us, live with us, be one of us, did good, healed the sick, preached repentance, preached the kingdom. Jesus died on the cross, God raised him to life on the third day.  Peter tells us that this is the Good News and Peter and the disciples were witnesses and because they were witnesses and preached the good news as commanded by Jesus there are more and more witnesses.

More specifically this season between Epiphany and Lent is symbolic of Jesus’ work here on earth.  Pam will be talking about the mission of Christ tomorrow during our worship service.  It is known as a season of light.  We are reminded that we are to take the light of the world to all people.  This is the Good News.  It is what we were commanded by Jesus before he went back to the Father.  I love how Peter ends this passage.  “He is the one all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in him will have their sins forgiven through his name.”  During this season that follows Epiphany we will follow the example of Jesus.  What is his mission?  What can we learn from it?  I am excited as we begin this next chapter of the church year.

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