God Accepts You
The theme of acceptance harmonizes with baptism. At this time God accepts the repentant sinner, washes away the dirt of sin in the waters of baptism, and adopts the believer as His child, making him His Servant and delights in him. God finds those who fear Him to be acceptable to Him (Epistle Lesson). At Jesus’ baptism, we hear God’s voice, “This is my beloved Son.” The Epistle Lesson closes by assuring those with faith that for Jesus’ sake their sins are forgiven. By faith we accept God’s acceptance of us.
The Spirit is prominent in the three lessons. Some erroneously refer to a water and a Spirit baptism as though there were two baptisms. Christian baptism is both at the same time and consequently there is, as Paul says, one baptism. The Prayer refers to Jesus’ being anointed with the Spirit. In Psalm 29 we hear God’s voice “upon the waters.” Luther’s Hymn of the Day tells the story of Jesus’ baptism.
Monday, 06 January, 2014—Psalm 2:7-11, 12c; antiphon, Isaiah 42:1a—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, Behold My servant, whom I uphold,, My chosen in whom My soul delights. The Father accepts the Son at His baptism and so the work of Jesus’ active public ministry has begun. From this Sunday through Easter we will witness those active acts the Savior did to win for you salvation. The psalmist and the prophet Isaiah rejoice for that day. We join them with our prayers and praises.
Tuesday, 07 January, 2014—Psalm 29 —The voice of God is the theme for Psalm 29 as seen in the thunderstorm - sometimes frightening, suggestive of terrifying cataclysms at the end of the world. In the torrent of rain, the ear-splitting thunderclaps, the blaze of lightning, and the roaring wind that sets the great forests in motion, the psalmist hears God’s voice. For God made and orders them all (verses 1-10). Let the hosts of heaven sing His glory (verses 1-2) – and may He bless His people on earth. (verse 11) The style of this psalm is very similar to ancient Canaanite poetry. Sirion (verse 6): 9,000 ft. Mt. Hermon, on the Israel/Lebanon border. Kadesh (verse 8): a place in the desert south of Beersheba.
Wednesday, 08 January 2014—Isaiah 42:1-91—God chooses and delights in His Servant. Epiphany deals with light. God chooses His servant to be the light of the nations. Epiphany is the season for world outreach with the Gospel. The Lord describes the character and work of His Servant. This is the first of four servant songs in Isaiah. In verses 1-4 the Servant is described as chosen and well-pleasing to the Lord, Spirit-filled, patient, and faithful. In verses 5-9, the work of the Servant is to bring the light of salvation to the world, justice, and He shall be a covenant of the people. How does this passage relate to Jesus’ baptism? As the Servant was anointed with the Spirit, Jesus at His baptism received the Holy Spirit. As the Servant was “chosen, in whom my soul delights,” at His baptism, God’s voice said, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” As the Servant was given a task (vv. 6-7), Jesus’ ministry began at His baptism.
Thursday, 09 January 2014—Acts 10:34-43—God accepts us by forgiving us for Jesus’ sake (verse 43). The glory of God is seen in the anointing of Jesus as Messiah by the gift of the Spirit and in His life of doing good, made possible by God’s being with Him. Peter, in a sermon to Cornelius, tells the story of the Gospel. The passage is a part of Peter’s sermon to Cornelius and his family in
It marks the giving of the Gospel to the Gentiles. In this sermon Peter
reminded his listeners how Jesus, after His baptism when He received the
Spirit, went about preaching and healing. Peter says he was one of the
witnesses to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. Faith in Jesus brings
forgiveness of sin. How does this lesson relate to Jesus’ baptism? Peter sees Jesus’
baptism as the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, testifies to the fact that at
baptism Jesus received the Spirit and power to carry out His ministry, and
tells Cornelius that forgiveness, which is endemic to baptism, comes from faith
Friday, 10 January 2014—Matthew 3:13-17—God accepts Jesus as His Son at His baptism. The Epiphany season deals with the manifestation of God’s glory in Jesus. At Jesus’ baptism, God is glorified in Jesus by the voice of God declaring Jesus as His Son, and by the appearance of the dove, indicating the gift of the Spirit. Jesus received the Spirit and was declared by God to be His Son. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ baptism differs in two ways from the other Synoptic accounts. Matthew tells of John’s reluctance to baptize Jesus who insists upon it in order that He might fulfill righteousness and identify with all who need repentance. The big question is, if Jesus were sinless why would He want John’s baptism of repentance? The other difference is that God’s voice of acceptance and approval of Jesus is addressed to the spectators: “This is my beloved Son.” Mark and Luke make it a personal experience: “Thou art my beloved Son.”
Saturday, 11 January 2014—Isaiah 40:3; Mathew 3:1-6—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is “To Jordan Came The Christ The Lord” (LSB #406/407). As you read and study the words of this hymn, you will find the story of Christ’s ministry and your salvation. As we begin a New Year, may each day be dedicated to living our baptismal life in the Name of our Lord and Savior.
Collects for the Baptism of our Lord: Father in heaven, at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan you proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into Christ faithful in their calling to be your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life.
Almighty, eternal God, when the Spirit descended upon Jesus at His baptism in the Jordan, You revealed Him as Your own beloved Son. Keep us, Your children born of water and the Spirit, faithful to our calling. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever.
Collect for Psalm 29: Lord our King, Your voice sounds over the waters as You reign above the flood. Help us, who are born again by water and the Holy Spirit, to praise Your wonderful deeds in Your holy temple; through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau,
Artwork by Ed Riojas © Higher Things