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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sermon 01082012 1st Sunday After Epiphany

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, in the Jordan River, John in order to fulfill all righteousness, baptized You.  But our baptism into Your life death and resurrection imparts to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.  May we embrace our redemption because it is only accomplished by what You completed on the cross of Calvary for all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

One of the things that most children experience when they are growing up, is knowing someone who ‘talks big’.  Whether it is my Dad was the best football player or wrestler of the Mustangs, or my Mom is the best cook in the church, or my Dad’s truck is bigger than your Dad’s truck, boasting, which this is, continues to be something that is in our DNA.  We always want to have the biggest and best toys, the best house, the best vehicles or even the best clothes like the Michael Jordan logo or the latest Pioneer hat, jacket or Fontanelle apparel.  And boasting even occurs in the Bible.

In our Gospel lesson this morning, Jesus Christ has come to the Jordan to receive the greatest gift from John the Baptist.  In order to fulfill all righteousness, Jesus asks John to allow Him to be baptized by him in the Jordan.  Rewind 1480 years and we are reminded that Joshua and the people of Israel came to the same river Jordan and crossed it, on dry ground.  God stopped the river’s flow in order to allow the Ark of the Covenant and the people of Israel to pass through the Jordan on dry ground. 

This same river now we hear, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ being baptized in by John the Baptist, by the one who ‘prepared the way for the Lord’ and told the people, ‘make your paths straight’.  John is now baptizing Jesus Christ to fulfill all righteousness.  And what occurs, God Himself boasts about His own Son saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  And it was not only boasting by the Father’s voice, but the presence of the Holy Spirit in the form of a Dove that descended and lighted upon Jesus Christ head.  In this one moment, the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit was manifest for all to see, hear and experience.

But, why is the river Jordan so important for us today in Western Kansas?  Of what significance is God’s boasting of His Son’s baptism in the Jordan River for us today?  Why should the words, righteousness, sanctification and redemption take special meaning for us today?

The reason is that Jesus baptism by John in the Jordan, just as His circumcision in the temple in Jerusalem that we heard about last week was to fulfill the law for each and every one of us.  In and through our baptism into Jesus Christ, life, death and resurrection we have been sanctified by the blood of the lamb and our redemption draws nearer and closer to each of us.  By our being baptized in the name of the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we have been claimed and made His through the Water connected with Word and our weakness of sin which we have been conceived in has been made a strength through the transformation in us and for us of what occurred in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for all of mankind.

Though we come here to Emmanuel and more often than not, just go through the motions of church, reading the bulletin, singing the songs and making ourselves look to others like we are Christian on the outside, Jesus Christ in entering our lives with the gift of faith in baptism made us His own.  We no longer are mere spectators, but God calls, gathers, enlightens and sanctifies us through the Work of the Holy Spirit in our daily lives.  God is calling us to action, not reaction, but proactive action to be His followers in our daily lives.  We are empowered by the Water and Word and made righteous before God, sanctified by the Work of the Holy Spirit and redeemed from sin, death and the devil, because of what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary.

The reminder for us this morning is that we have a history with the river Jordan, not only with Joshua and the people of Israel who walked through the water being held back, but also and especially with Jesus Christ Who was baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness.  When we wash our face in the morning, remember our baptism and recall God’s saving act for each of us when Water and Word intimately connected gave us the gift of faith, we recall, reclaim and renew the life of Christ that resides in each of us.  And being renewed with our daily remembrance of our baptism we are reminded that God can say the same of us who have been baptized into Jesus Christ that He is well pleased with us.  For Jesus came into this World to save all of mankind, especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.
//trial script