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Summary: Sermon for the First Sunday after the Epiphany The Baptism of Jesus

First Sunday after the Epiphany

Baptism of Jesus Sermon

Matthew 3:13-17

"Baptism as Epiphany’’

This morning, I would like to do something different! I propose to tell you three stories and as you listen to them think about how each of them relate to Baptism.

Story 1.

A dying judge said to his pastor; "Do you know enough about law to understand what is meant by "joint tenancy?"

"No," was the reply, "I know nothing about law; I know a little about grace, and that satisfies me."

"Well", said the judge, "if you and I were joint tenants on a farm, I could not say to you, that is your hill of corn and this is mine, that is your blade of grass and this is mine; but we would share and share alike in everything on the place. I have been just lying here and thinking with joy that Jesus Christ has nothing apart from me, and that everything He has is mine and we will share alike through all eternity."

Story 2.

Spencer Marsh has written a book entitled, God Man, and Archie Bunker and in it he says,

"Every time Archie has a scrape with God, he becomes more religious. This we saw when a ton crate of machine parts fell off the crane at work and missed Archie by inches. Though Mike or better known as meathead, raised the possibility that God may have been trying to hit Archie and missed, Archie was convinced it was God’s doing that he escaped. The crate fell close enough to scare a little religion into him, which he seemed to think is not only a panacea for himself but for the whole world.

Archie says, "I tell you my heart goes out to a lot of guys I know. They spend all their lives belonging to one of them anthing-goes religions. They raise their kids in it, they give money to it, they run dances for it...only to get up there some day to find out they was fooling around with the wrong one all the time!!! It’s sad, you know that?’’

Story, 3.

Napoleon’s soldiers known as the Old guard were grumbling and about to mutiny. Napoleon knew how to handle the situation. He went into a room that had two doors. He had his troops line up outside one of the doors. He called each man into the room, and the door was shut behind him. Not a word was spoken, but Napoleon clasped the man’s hand looked him full in the face, then the man left by the other door. This scene was repeated over and over again until all the men in the Old Guard had passed through. The silent look and the handclasp had done their work: every man was Napoleon’s now."

Were you able to figure out what each of these stories had to do with Baptism??

Story #1 about the judge tells us in Baptism we do become a child of God’s and then share in everything that is God’s. We become people who have joint tenancy with God. Story #2 about Archie Bunker tells us sadly, that many people believe, Baptism as some magical rite that is preformed for them and their children and if they have this little bit of religion then everything is going to he ok. And story #3 about Napoleon tells us that in Baptism we too come into the presence of our leader, we come into the presence of God through the water and the word at the font and we become totally his. God’s Spirit comes to us and we are his.

In Jesus’ Baptism, this was a sign for Jesus as well as John that God had indeed chosen Jesus to be his incarnate presence in this world. Jesus’ Baptism was an Epiphany event, or a manifestation, or a light, or a revelation of God’s presence in this world.

Jesus as he grew up in his father’s carpenter shop must have been looking for a sign from God to tell him when he was to go about his public ministry. John’s preaching, John’s baptism was just that sign. Jesus came to John not because he needed to be forgiven of his sins, but as a sign, a revelation to all people and a revelation to himself that he was to begin his public ministry. He received conformation in a physical way what he knew in his heart to be his task. God’s voice, the coming of the spirit on him all confirmed for Jesus he was indeed God’s chosen one, the one who would bring the good news to all people.

In Baptism, we too become God’s chosen ones. In the pouring of the water and in the saying of the words, we become God’s children in Baptism. We are chosen by God. He acts, he comes to us through the water and the word to make us his. A baby might be either sleep or cry during Baptism, but that is all it will do. The baby will have no active part, that is because God is the one who acts. God comes to the baby and claims it for his own. God does all the action in Baptism. God claims it’s life for eternity.

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