Time in the Word – Epiphany 1
The Baptism of our Lord
January 4-9, 2016
The Epiphany season begins each church year with the Baptism of our Lord. At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation; God entering time and space to be our Savior. We see what it will take for Jesus to become the world’s Redeemer as He enters the Jordan river to be baptized by John. Jesus’ work will conclude with his death on the cross on Good Friday. Already He is planning your salvation as He becomes you substitute. He will live the perfect life for you. He will be tempted as you are. He will carry your sin so that in your baptism you may receive His perfection, obedience, and grace.
Anointed with the Spirit is the theme for this coming Sunday. Christmas is officially over for the year and a new season is upon us. Epiphany literally means “I see it!” or “Now I understand!” or “I’ve got it!” In Epiphany this infant whom we have worshiped at the manger we now see as God’s chosen One. Hence the antiphon for the Introit will be taken from Isaiah’s prophecy—Jesus is the Father’s chosen one, the one in whom He delights. Jesus begins His public ministry at His baptism. Now we see Him as He is. Now we understand what He will do. In the Old Testament lesson God’s Servant is anointed with the Spirit to bring Justice. In the Gospel lesson Jesus is anointed with the Spirit as God’s Son at His Baptism. Paul in the Epistle reminds his readers, that through our own incorporation into Christ we are to be regarded as dead to sin and alive in Christ. The Hymn of the Day recounts Christ’s own baptism and calls for us to live our lives anew to Him who has redeemed us.
Collect for 2nd Sunday after Christmas – O God, our Maker and Redeemer, who wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature, grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Collect for the Epiphany or our Lord – O God, by the leading of a star You once made known to all nations Your only-begotten Son; now lead us, who know You by faith, to know in heaven the fullness of Your divine goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.
Collect for Epiphany 1 – 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 in 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. Amen
Collect for the likeness of Christ—O God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son, You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness born for our sake that after His example we may bear with patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Monday, 4 January 2016 Psalm 2:7-11, 12c antiphon, Isa, 42:1a -Behold My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights. When the matador enters the ring, when your favorite teams enters the court, there is a thunder of applause from the adoring crowd. This is the Father’s response not only to His own Son Jesus but also with you. By grace through faith you have been incorporated into God’s family. At the celebration of the baptism of our Lord, we also remember our own baptism. This is your new status as one of Christ’s redeemed
Tuesday, 5 January 2016 Psalm 29 (antiphon; v.3) - Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. This week’s Psalm is a hymn of praise to the King of creation whose majesty and power are trumpeted by the thunderbolts of the rainstorm – as the storm rose above the Mediterranean swept across the
Lebanon range and rolled over the
wilds of Kadesh. The key verse is the believer’s response we are to worship the
Lord “in the splendor of His holiness.”
Wednesday, 6 January 2016 Isaiah 43:1-7 - God’s servant is anointed with the Spirit to bring justice. This is a servant song about Israel as God’s servant who will be anointed with the Spirit to bring justice and light to the nations. We can see the fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus, and then the church as God’s servant carrying on the work of Jesus in the world.
Here is a much needed conception of the church as God’s servant. To be this, the church needs to be anointed by the Spirit (verse 1). As servant, the church will not use force but the compassion of life to attain her goals (verses 2, 3). She will not be discouraged in her work – in spite of setbacks in a hostile world (verse 4).
Thursday, 7 January 2016 Romans 6:1-11 - Your baptism is a birth certificate; your baptism is a death certificate. In baptism you died to sin and became alive to God. When we come to the Father in repentance and faith, our old Adam, that is, our old sinful nature is drowned and killed while a new man becomes alive in us to live before God in righteousness and purity. Each day is a death to self and a new life to God. The words of John the Baptist are a fitting refrain, “He must increase I must decrease” (John 3:30).
Friday 8, January 2016 Luke 3:15-22 - How many baptisms are there? Luke emphasizes the anointing of the Spirit in connection with baptism. The Holy Spirit comes to us in and through our baptism. In the Gospel lesson “water baptism” and “spirit baptism” are mentioned. In verse 16 John the Baptizer says he baptizes with water but a greater than he will baptize with the Spirit and fire. Water and Sprit baptism are one and the same. The Spirit comes with the Word manifested by the sign of water. Baptism is essentially a spiritual matter, a covenant between God and the believer. It is not a mere external matter of applying water to a person. You are a true and complete Christian by virtue of your baptism. This is your birthright, where faith is born. Its purpose and power cannot be taken away from you.
Saturday 9, January 2016 Luke 3:21-22 This week’s hymn of the week, “To Jordan came the Christ, our Lord”. Written by Martin Luther tells the story of salvation. The hymn recounts Christ’s own baptism and the new life He offers to us. As you meditate upon this wonderful hymn, resolve to daily walk with Him who has promised to order your days and direct you path.
A prayer for steadfast faith – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and come to life everlasting.
A prayer for newness of life in Christ – Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH