Jan 13, 2019
Why does a sinless Jesus feel compelled to be baptized by John? John was giving a baptism of repentance and yet all four gospels tell the story of Christ's baptism. Jesus would say in Matthew, "this needs to be done to fulfill all righteousness." The early church fathers would agree that what Jesus is doing is further identifying with humanity he came to rescue, and while he was sinless he would later take on the sins of the world in order that through our own adoption we too might be saved.
At the end of last year many people were posting to social media their "Top 9" which was a spread of their top 9 moments or favorite pics of the last year. My mind immediately went to my favorite moments. I thought of my friends, my child, my family, my travels, and then as I meditated a bit more on my actual favorite moments, I was drawn to tears by a church who gathers at the river for baptisms. I was reminded of the all people this year who, like Christ, were baptized in the river. I can think of them now. The joy in their hearts, the feeling of adoption and love, and then that great and booming voice over them solidifying their baptismal identity, "this is my beloved child in whom I am well pleased."
Our baptism marks us like it marked Christ, not as a moment of ritual metaphor, but rather as a revolutionary flag in the ground moment. Upon Christ's baptism he is then tempted by Satan in ways that we too are tempted. To be relevant (stones to bread) to be popular (throw yourself off the temple) and to be powerful (I'll give you all these if you bow down and worship me). Yet Jesus was faithful to the mission and the kingdom of God and faithful to you and to me as our great mediator and friend.
As you go into the new year, how are you living into the revolutionary nature of your baptismal identity? Where are you winning the battles of temptation and where do you need to be reminded of God's great love for you? How has ambition and success clouded your love for God and your love for neighbor? Finally, where do you need to welcome Christ into the moments of your suffering humanity and allow him to be present with you?
The Baptism of Jesus is a further expression of the incarnation that ties the actions of Christ into the prophetic words of Isaiah that would call our Messiah, "God with Us!" He is with you, and he is for you! Let us be found with him, and for him in!
**This sermon was not recorded due to a snow cancellation.**