Sunday, January 5, 2020

Epiphany 1 - The Baptism of our Lord - Series A

(The First Sunday after the Epiphany)
(12 January 2020)

Isaiah 42:1–9
Romans 6:1–11
Matthew 3:13–17

The Holy Triune God Is Manifested and Reveals Himself to Us in Holy Baptism

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, forever and ever.

The Baptism of our Lord is an “epiphany” of the one true God in the flesh and blood of Jesus. He is the chosen servant of the Lord, anointed with the Spirit for the rescue of God’s people and to “bring forth justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1). 

Thus, He makes all things new, and He is given “as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). 

In the waters of the Jordan, He takes His place with sinners and takes all the sins of the world upon Himself. He undergoes the Baptism of repentance in order to “fulfill all righteousness” for us (Matthew 3:15). 

He submits Himself to the curse of sin and death in order to redeem us. We are baptized with a Baptism like His, thereby dying and rising with Him, so that “we will also live with him” (Romans 6:8). 

Indeed, all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus are anointed with His Spirit and named by His Father as beloved and well-pleasing sons and daughters.

The message of Jesus and John is the same. "Repent for the kingdom is here..." "Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin."  Repent, be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Spirit."

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.”

First Sunday After Epiphany, January 12, 2020 (Matthew 3:13-17)
Rev. Dr. Daniel J Brege

As the number of cults increase and as paganism is displacing Christianity in many lands, preachers must be more consciously persistent about preaching the doctrine of the Holy Trinity.  Not that most sermons need be expositions of this essential doctrine, but pastors would do well to point out the frequent references to the True God—one essence with three distinct persons—permeating the Scriptures.

At the Baptism of our Lord the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is quite apparent.  In this most wonderful account we observe the only occasion where the Holy Spirit takes upon himself a form—that of a dove. From this temporary morphing of the Spirit we observe him to be separate from the Son and the Father. Then from the voice that acclaims Jesus to be My beloved Son, we hear the voice of the Father, again a distinctly separate third person in the one God.  There are three distinct God-persons, but one God.

Consider now how the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is echoed in various New Testament Baptism texts.

Of course the foundational Baptism text—Matthew 28: 19, 20—reveals that disciples are made as they are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  The word name is singular, as there is but one divine essence, and yet there are three distinct persons, each possessing this name.

Consider then the first application of Christian Baptism as recorded in Acts 2:38,39:  Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise belongs to you and your children and to all who are far off—to all whom the Lord our God will call to Himself.  Again we see the name noted in Matthew 28:19 as owned 100% by each God-person, and the three persons are again identified:  Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the Lord our God (God the Father).  Clearly the work of the Holy Trinity explains Holy Baptism.

Observe the doctrine of the Holy Trinity linked to Baptism in 1 Corinthians 6:11. St. Paul explains to those who had been caught up in the filthiness of sin, that in Holy Baptism they were wonderfully washed:  But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.  Observe again the name possessed by all three persons, and recognize all three persons compactly identified:  Lord Jesus Christ, Spirit of our God [the Father].

Paul identifies two persons of the Trinity as he writes an apparent Baptism concept in Galatians 3:5: Does God lavish His Spirit on you and work miracles among you because you practice the law, or because you hear and believe? The Apostle then in verses 26, 27, identifies two persons of the Holy Trinity as he links faith and sonship with Baptism: You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.  The true God is clear:  God (the Father) lavishes His Spirit (uniquely in Baptism) and we are sons of God (the Father) as we are clothed with Christ Jesus (the Son of God) in Baptism. One need only go a few verses further to find a condensed mentioning of each person of the Holy Trinity, relating our sonship established in Baptism:  And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!”

Look up also Ephesians 1:13,14 (Baptism is the seal of the Spirit); Titus 3:5-8; John 3:1-16. Each text speaks of Baptism, explaining such talk by referencing the three persons of the Holy Trinity.  Pastors, preach then the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, and proclaim its unique connection to Holy Baptism.

Matthew 3:13–17
The Baptism of Jesus

Matthew 3:13
Τότε παραγίνεται ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰορδάνην πρὸς τὸν Ἰωάννην τοῦ βαπτισθῆναι ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 

Why the Jordan?
- Jordan where sin/death are left behind
- Israel crossed over forgetting sin and receiving life.

-Matthew 3:14 
ὁ δὲ ωάννης διεκώλυεν αὐτὸν λέγων• Ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω ὑπὸ σοῦ βαπτισθῆναι, καὶ σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με;
John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 

Jesus becomes the serpent who is lifted up for life. Jesus refers himself to the serpent nailed for life.

John knows who Jesus is. It makes no sense. 

Matthew 3:15
ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτόν• Ἄφες ἄρτι, οὕτως γὰρ πρέπον ἐστὶν ἡμῖν πληρῶσαι πᾶσαν δικαιοσύνην. τότε ἀφίησιν αὐτόν.
But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.

"Permit it" Ἄφες ἄρτι, οὕτως is same word for forgiveness "let it be"

Look at the pronouns Jesus says "us" all together. As with John he uses you, me.

These are Jesus' first words in Matthew's gospel, "let it be so." 

Matthew 3:16
βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς [d]εὐθὺς ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος• καὶ ἰδοὺ [e]ἠνεῴχθησαν οἱ οὐρανοί, καὶ εἶδεν [f]πνεῦμα θεοῦ καταβαῖνον ὡσεὶ [g]περιστερὰν ἐρχόμενον ἐπ’ αὐτόν
 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,[a] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;

Matthew 3:17
καὶ ἰδοὺ φωνὴ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν λέγουσα• Οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν ᾧ εὐδόκησα.
and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son,[b] with whom I am well pleased.”

- Heavens are open
-Spirit descents came down as a dove
Genesis 8:6-12,The end of wrath the dove is a preacher of peace.

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
LCMS Lectionary Summary © 2016
Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

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