Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”
15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”
Matthew 3:13-17 New Living Translation (NLT)
This coming Sunday is known as the Baptism of our Lord. The gospel reading for this Sunday tells the story of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. As you may remember from our readings during Advent, John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Jesus. The baptism of Jesus, signifies the beginning of Jesus’ earthly ministry. For the next three years, Jesus’ ministry will be out in the public. We don’t have much record of Jesus previous thirty years of life, but the final three years are earth are well documented.
John the Baptist is a bit confused. He doesn’t understand why Jesus is coming to him for baptism. After all, Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is God in the flesh. There is no need to be baptized for the remission of sins, because Jesus is the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. John says, it needs to be the other way around – that Jesus should be baptizing him.
Jesus reminds John the Baptist that this is the way it needs to be because God requires it. Jesus is our example – Jesus is God in the flesh – Jesus came to identify with His creation. Baptism will be something the followers of Jesus will do to identify with Jesus. Even 2,000 years later, believers of Jesus are still baptized. As we go into the water, we bury our old self – signifying, Jesus’ death on the cross. We then rise out of the water, into Christ. Just as Jesus was risen on the third day to give us new life!
Jesus’ baptism is one of the first places in the New Testament that we see the Trinity together – the voice of God the Father, Jesus the Son being baptized, along with the Holy Spirit coming down like a dove. By being baptized, Jesus has been obedient to God the Father – and Jesus will continue to be obedient to God the Father. It is this call to obedience, that Jesus calls us. He was obedient to the Father to the point of death as we are reminded in Philippians 2.
As I mentioned earlier, Jesus’ baptism signifies the beginning of his earthly ministry. This season of Epiphany – or the Sundays after Epiphany emphasize the mission of Jesus. We hear how Jesus calls his disciples to build and grow the Kingdom of God. Many of Jesus’ parables are references to the Kingdom of God. 2,000 years later, Jesus still calls his disciples to grow and to build the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of heaven. We are not to build our own little kingdoms of fiefdoms, but the Kingdom of heaven. By our baptism, we identify that we are a disciple of Jesus and we desire to be obedient to God the Father.
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
It’s been a crazy weekend of football. Yesterday, we watched an exciting nail-biter as the Bills played Texans. Being that we minister in the Western New York area, Bills fever was high. It was almost like my own home team was playing. At one point I stood watching the tv – like that was going to help. It was a disappointing loss for the hometown Bills. This afternoon, we were treated to more excitement as the Eagles hosted the Seahawks. I knew the chances of the Eagles winning wasn’t great, but still rooted for them, hoping all the way that there would be a chance for a comeback. Alas, that didn’t happen, so the teams I would really root for are out for the year.
In other news, it’s been a week that started as vacation and finished back at work. I got sidelined in my running this week with gout. By Thursday I was at least back to walking and yesterday I ran 5 miles. It has been nice to have about 10 days off from bus driving. Tomorrow Anna starts back to work, so slowly life is returning back to normal.
This morning in church, we celebrated Epiphany – yes for the purists we were a day early, but I felt it was important to highlight this significant event in the life of Jesus – the visit of the Magi. Yesterday, Anna and I spent the day preparing Reyes de Rosca or King’s Bread. We started the tradition last year and I thought it would be good to do it again.
This week we prepare for our Covenant Renewal Service next Sunday. We also restart our Kid’s Club on Wednesday night. That’s about all I have for this week. Have a great week.