Sermon for The Baptism of Our Lord – Jan. 10, 2021

+ Baptism of Our Lord – January 10th, 2021 +

Series B: Genesis 1:1-5; Romans 6:1-11; Mark 1:4-11

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Water, Spirit, Life”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

It’s no exaggeration to say that water is life. It’s true in our daily life, and even more so in our life before God.

 

It’s no surprise, then, that Scripture is saturated with the way God gives life through water. In the beginning, “The Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. The Deep. Tehom, those primal, swirling, chaotic waters. God brought order out of chaos. Light out of darkness. Life out of nothing. Water, Spirit, Life.

 

In Genesis 8 water covered the face of the earth; it was Genesis 1:2 all over again. The Flood was a washing with water of a creation gone bad. And yet through the water, God saved Noah and his family, 8 souls in all. The dove held an olive branch in its beak. A sign of a new creation. A sign of the new creation yet to come. Water, Spirit, Life.

 

In Exodus, God saved Israel through the water. Isaiah reminds us that God placed his Holy Spirit in their midst as they walked through the water into life (Is. 63:11-12). Israel emerges from the Red Sea waters a redeemed people, baptized in the Red Sea, Paul declares. Egypt is the womb of Israel and the Sea is its birthing water. As the Israelites walked through the Sea, they went from being slaves to free men, from nothing to a nation. Water, Spirit, Life.

Time and time again God drenches his real promises and with real water. Scripture teems with God’s ever-flowing life and love. It all leads us downstream to the Jordan River. To John, whom God sent baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. To Jesus, who stands in the Jordan River as the convergence of all God’s watery, grace-soaked, promises. Water, Spirit, Life. That’s how God works here in Mark 1 as well.

 

John’s baptism in the wilderness is not the same as the baptism Jesus will establish. But it is important. John’s baptism marked a transition, a bridge between the old covenant and the new. all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins. a new life through water.

 

In the old covenant, you dealt with sin by blood sacrifice, the blood of an animal for your blood, life for life. But with John came something new – a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. You came to John standing there in the Jordan river, confessing your sins, and you were washed by him and forgiven. Your sins were washed away. And the whole while John would be preaching and pointing ahead to another One, a greater One for whom John was not worthy to be the lowest slave untying His sandal. He would bring an even greater Baptism – the Holy Spirit.

 

John’s baptism, like his preaching, pointed to the true fountain and wellspring of eternal life in Jesus, the source and confluence of God’s promises.

 

Still, we wonder  why was Jesus baptized? How did…It come to pass that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 

 

Think about how shocking this is. John’s baptism was for repentance and forgiveness of sins. The people came to John confessing their sins. And here’s Jesus, the sinless Son of God walking into the water of sinners. Bathing himself in the sins of Israel. Stepping into the dirty, sin-polluted waters of the Jordan River. Jesus, the Holy One of Israel standing in the Jordan River soaking up our sinful water like a sponge. Jesus’ baptism is the opposite of our baptism. Where our baptism cleanses us, Jesus’s baptism reveals him as the sin bearer.

 

In the Jordan River, Jesus steps into our place, that in his life, death, and resurrection, we would stand before God in his place. In the Jordan River, Jesus comes to do what we cannot do, to turn us back, to return us to God the Father. In the Jordan River, Jesus steps into the water to open the flood gates of his love that will finally be revealed on the cross. Shocking, yet wonderful indeed.

 

And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens torn open and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.

 

Just as the Spirit of God hovered over creation. Just as the dove came to Noah with an olive branch. Just as the Spirit of God was in the midst of God’s people as they walked through the Red Sea. So too, the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus. It is God’s signal that in Jesus he will bring about a new creation – order out of chaos, light out of darkness, life from nothingness of sin. In Jesus God brings us true rest, true peace, as we too are saved, given life by water and His Spirit. In Jesus God leads us on a newer and greater exodus; an exodus from slavery of sin to the freedom in Christ, from darkness to light, from death to life.

 

Jesus is baptized in the Jordan River and on the cross in fire and blood, so that when you are baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, you are baptized into him.

As St. Paul writes, We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

The same Lord who tore open the waters of the Red Sea to rescue Israel, emerges from the Jordan River waters, standing in the sinners’ place, to bring about your rescue on the cross, when the curtain of the temple was torn in two and paradise is opened for you.

 

It’s a Trinitarian event. Like all baptisms, Jesus’ baptism is the work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus is in the water with sinners and for sinners. The Holy Spirit descends. And the Father speaks.

 

God’s voice cries out from the heavens. “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Pleased to send His Son for you. Pleased to save you. Pleased to give you life by water and the Spirit. Pleased to give you His own Son that in him he would declare, “You are my beloved son, with you I am well pleased.”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

 

 

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com