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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sermon 12212011 Mid-Week Advent 4

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer!!  AMEN!!

Let us pray!  Lord Jesus Christ, when You stood on the bank of the Jordan, Your life here on earth had been secluded and out of the public eye.  But when the Water connected with the Word spoken by John poured over Your head and You came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and You were revealed with the Father and Holy Spirit.  This was the next step in fulfilling the plan of salvation.  As we conclude our Advent preparation, may we understand that Your coming, not only fulfills one step in God’s plan of salvation, but this is the step of Christ coming in our hearts and changing us as we celebrate this Advent season for all of us saints here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

There is not a day that goes by that Sarah does not amaze Michele or I how she continues growing as a toddler.  Like many of you one of the neatest things as her Father is to watch when Sarah get’s excited.  For example, this week, we bought her a pair of Dora the Explorer shoes and to see Sarah in her own way, shake with excitement when she saw those shoes.  That is priceless.

In today’s final part in our series for our preparation in Advent, when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, Jesus probably didn’t have the same outward excitement that Sarah had with the Dora shoes, but inwardly, Jesus probably felt like a ‘kid that had been given the coolest gift’.  But this wasn’t a gift, it was the realization for all those present of a true and present reality.  Hear again, Mark’s account:

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”

In this one moment, Jesus Christ experiences the crowning affirmation that we as humans desire from our earthly parents.  The clear statement from God the Father saying, “in You I am well-pleased”.  But here we are talking of human emotion and desire and this is not any ordinary human, it is God incarnate Who humbled Himself by taking on Human Flesh and no longer is He just Human, Jesus Christ is Human and Divine.

Yet, the greater importance is that in these three verses, the Trinity is revealed to humanity.  When God the Father speaks and says, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased”, and previously the Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus in the likeness of a dove, and Jesus Christ is present in Human form.  In this one moment, our Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is not some abject question, but a concrete reality that cannot be refuted.  Thus, Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled of the Stem of Jesse bearing fruit and He is standing along side John the Baptist and all who came to the river Jordan to be baptized.

But why is that important for us today?  Why would the opening of the heavens have an importance for we God’s people here in Northwest Kansas?  Well, Paul Kretzmann famous Lutheran Pastor and Scholar reveals the following of the opening of the heavens and its importance:

it was a revelation for His [that is Jesus Christ’s] benefit. He, who had just received baptism unto the remission of sins, not for His own, but for those of the world that were resting upon Him, was shown the open heaven. It was a manifestation to strengthen Him at the beginning of His ministry, in which He must work out the redemption of mankind.
This gift of redemption we are partakers of today through our baptism into Jesus Christ, life, death and resurrection.  We through our washing with Water and Word are forever connected to this event where the heavens are opened and our redemption draws near.  This is why as we prepare during Advent and now come to the conclusion of our Advent series, we celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ who “works out the redemption of mankind”.  Jesus Christ works out our being saved and we can be strengthened like Jesus Christ for our life here on the plains of Northwest Kansas as we come to the manger on bended knee.  For our redemption does draw near and we take the final steps to the manger where Jesus Christ comes into this world to save all of us saints from our sins who have gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.
//trial script