Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

A Congregation of Lutheran Church-Canada

Scripture & Sermons

THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD AD 2022 2022-01-16


Isaiah 43:1-7
But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob,
he who formed you, O Israel:
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
[2] When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
[3] For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
[4] Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
[5] Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east,
and from the west I will gather you.
[6] I will say to the north, Give up,
and to the south, Do not withhold;
bring my sons from afar
and my daughters from the end of the earth,
[7] everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made."

Romans 6:1-11
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? [2] By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? [3] Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? [4] 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.
[5] 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. [6] We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. [7] For one who has died has been set free from sin. [8] Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. [9] We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. [10] For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. [11] So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Luke 3:15-22
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, [16] John answered them all, saying, "I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. [17] His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire."
[18] So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. [19] But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, [20] added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
[21] Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, [22] and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

On Friday, I had the joy of bringing communion to one of our congregation’s newer members, the dear grandmother of my new-daughter-in-law, where I was given a smile, by hearing, as I have heard from others before, “I can’t believe how much you sound like Eduard.” Yes, I’ve heard it many a time over, especially from people who have gotten to know my eldest son before they have gotten to know me. “You sound a lot like Eduard.” I’m never surprised by it, since I always heard how much I sounded like my dad when I answered the phone as a teenager and could carry on a half hour phone conversation with my brother’s wife when she was still only his girlfriend without her ever realizing that it was me and not my brother on the phone. Yea, he needed to be nice to me in those days.

So much of life has everything to do with our birth. As people who are so big into independence, we don’t really like to think of it that way. We want to believe that we can be whoever we want to be, that we can create ourselves in whatever image we want … reinvent ourselves in whatever ways we want … be nothing like our parents or grandparents, if we want. We want to believe that we have a choice. This thinking simply goes along with the whole “be your own god bit”, that we were sold in Eden. Masters of our own identity and destiny is what we want to be, but Holy Scripture and a whole lot of science says that just ain’t so.

Birth decides so much about us, and so, reveals so much about us. The key to knowing ourselves is looking back at who we were born to be. Knowing where we are going is understood all the better by looking back at where we came from. Your birth lays out your path in so many ways - it reveals so much about you. Without question you have choices along the way, but we deceive ourselves, if we think that the choices that we will make have nothing to do with, who we were born as, and how we were raised. All of this of course has so much to do with what the Lord has to show us … reveal to us … deepen us in today, as the Church sets before us Jesus being baptized with all the other people.

Baptism after all is a birth - a new birth from above in the Holy Spirit, as scripture plainly teaches. It follows then, that all that we can say about the first birth, can be said of the second as well. This is made plain for us at the Jordan. Jesus’ baptism reveals everything about His family, and so, about Him, as it makes plain where His life is heading and how He will travel its path. Jesus’ baptism is a second birth in the Holy Spirit as well, not though, because He needed one for Himself. No, as we have all just so clearly heard in these past few weeks, Jesus first birth was a Spirit birth too, as He was conceived by the Holy Spirit to begin with in theVirgin Mary’s womb.

No, Jesus is baptized with the many, for the many. He is baptized with us, for us. He has a second birth from above in the Spirit, to make one possible for the rest of us. But back to what His baptism says about Him. First of all, it shows us who He is and where He comes from. No where else is God revealed to us more clearly than at Jesus baptism. In fact the Christian Church has ever looked to that moment at the Jordan to get God right. Here, the deepest mystery of the Trinity is revealed, as the Three Persons, who are one God, openly take center stage in Human history. To be sure they’re all there in the beginning, but never so openly as they are here, which is a huge clue just how important baptism is for God and so for us.