Prayers for Epiphany – O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Most merciful God, You gave Your eternal Word to become incarnate of the pure Virgin. Grant Your people grace to put away fleshly lusts that they may be ready for Your visitation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Almighty God, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
For blessing on the Word – Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.
A prayer before we study the Word – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.
Let us honor Christ’s baptism and celebrate this feast in holiness. Be cleansed entirely and continue to be cleansed. Nothing gives such pleasure to God as the conversion and salvation of human beings, for whom his every word and every revelation exist. He wants you to become a living force for all humanity, lights shining in the world. You are to be radiant lights as you stand beside Christ, the great light, bathed in the glory of him who is the light of heaven. You are to enjoy more and more the pure and dazzling light of the Trinity. For now you have received — through not in its fullness — a ray of its splendor, proceeding from the one God, in Christ Jesus our Lord, to whom be glory and power for ever and ever. (Leo the Great)
The first Sunday after the Epiphany is a special day – the baptism of our Lord. In the early church Epiphany was celebrated in terms of Jesus’ baptism. In keeping with the festival, the liturgical color is white. The Gospel lesson records the events of John baptizing Jesus in the Jordan River. With His baptism Jesus will begin His earthly public ministry. John comes preaching repentance and baptizing in the Jordan. He prepares the way for Jesus by telling the people that one is coming who will baptize with the Spirit. Then comes Jesus from Nazareth and is baptized by John. According to Mark, this is a personal experience of Jesus, for He alone saw the dove and heard the Father’s voice. From this moment Jesus is the Son of God.
Collect for the Baptism of our Lord—Father in heaven at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful to their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Monday, January 5, 2015—Psalm 2:7-11, 12c—The Antiphon, is taken from Isaiah 42:1a “Behold my servant whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights.” In ancient times the term “servant” meant something like “trusted envoy” or “confidential representative” but here there is more. This is the Lord’s chosen one, the one in whom the Lord delights, the one in whom the Lord’s Spirit is given. This is a prediction of Christ who comes to make our salvation a reality. With His baptism, not only does the Savior begin His ministry, but from here on there can be no turning back. Salvation will find its completion at a bloody and cruel cross and an empty tomb.
Tuesday, January 6. 2015—Psalm 29—The key verse of this psalm is verse 3, “The Voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.” The Voice of God is the theme for Psalm 29 which blends with the theme for this coming Sunday that the Voice of the Father was heard by the Savior. In the thunderstorm, sometimes frightening, suggestive of terrifying cataclysms at the end of the world.
Wednesday, January 7, 2015—Genesis 1:1-5—The Old Testament lesson for the Baptism of our Lord reminds us once again that the Voice of God is important. In ten phrases the Creator of the Universe speaks the world into existence. Sunday’s Old Testament lesson will focus on Day 1. Merely by speaking God brought all things into being – see also Psalm 33:6, 9 and Hebrews 11:3. God’s first creative word called forth light in the midst of the darkness. Light is necessary for making God’s creative works visible and life possible. As you have been baptized, God is re-creating faith in a once sin-darkened heart.
Thursday, January 8 2015—Romans 6:1-11—Paul will explain both the when and how of the Christian’s death to sin. Baptism is a means by which we enter into a vital faith relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a means of receiving God’s grace, and it depicts graphically what happens as a result of the Christian’s union with Christ. Through faith we are united with Christ, just as through our natural birth we are united with Adam. As we fell into sin and became subject to death in father Adam, so we now have died and been raise again with Christ – with baptism effects.
Friday, January 9, 2015 - Mark 1:4-11—Sunday’s Gospel reading is St. Mark’s account of the baptism of our Lord. In Jesus’ baptism, God the Father proclaimed Jesus His Son, whom He loves. In His baptism, our sins are washed onto Jesus, and the baptismal waters sanctified, that they might wash our sins off us. We, too, are beloved of God. The day of our Baptism is one of the greatest days in our lives, when our old man was drowned in those sacred waters, and our new selves, righteous and holy, were brought forth to “live before God in righteousness and purity forever.”
The Father declares that Jesus is His Son. Here Jesus receives the knowledge of His identity, His self-understanding, and of His mission in life as the Messiah. Wasn’t Jesus God’s Son prior to His baptism or does this mean that this is the first time Jesus came to a realization of who He was? It is important to note that we only know who we are and what we are to do in relation to the Father. When we know whose we are, we know who we are. Baptism for us is the time of adoption as children of God. By His grace we are accepted as children of His kingdom. Baptism is the initiation and incorporation into the body of Christ.
Saturday, January 10, 2015— Matthew 3:13-17; Hebrews 2:17; Luke 4:18; 2 Corinthians 4:21 - The hymn of the day for the Baptism of our Lord is, To Jordan’s River Came Our Lord (LSB 405). In this hymn references are made to the Savior’s baptism. The Theme for the day emphasizes baptism as the time of the Spirit’s reception and the beginning of ministry.
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LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES B © 1981 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH