What are You Doing with Your Baptism?

2019-01-13 – Year C – Epiphany 1 – The Rev. Christopher M. Klukas
Isaiah 42:1-9; Psalm 89:20-29; Acts 10:34-38; Luke 3:15-22

  • There are so many people that achieve unbelievable amounts of success and fame at a very young age.
  • Some people are singled out at a young age and groomed to be a gymnast, or an actor, or a computer programmer.
  • In high school, we sometimes vote on which senior is most likely to succeed.
  • I’m not sure Jesus would have won any of those awards locally, and he certainly hadn’t attracted much fame in Palestine as a youth.
  • We don’t know very much about Jesus between his birth and his Baptism.
    • Fled to Egypt with Mary and Joseph
    • Eventually returned to Nazareth
    • Impressed the teachers in the temple courts when he was about 12.
  • Nazareth was a small and somewhat out of the way town which is probably why Nathanial says “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46).

The Baptism of Jesus

  • The Baptism of Jesus is recorded (or referred to) in all four Gospels.
  • The account in Luke is very brief:
    • Jesus was baptized
    • The heavens opened
    • The Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove
    • A voice came from heaven “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
  • This is a declaration from God the Father of the true identity of Jesus.
    • This is why this feast is an important part of the season of Epiphany (manifestation).
  • This is also a commissioning for Jesus to begin his ministry.

Our Baptism

  • The Baptism we participate in is different from Jesus’ Baptism, but they are connected.
  • John’s Baptism was a Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin (Luke 3:3).
    • Jesus, of course, had no sin
    • Repentance is our part, cleansing and forgiveness is God’s part
    • In Baptism Sin is washed away
  • Adopted as God’s children
    • The voice from heaven declares that Jesus is God’s beloved son, this is already his identity and God the Father proclaims it for all to hear.
    • In Baptism, we too become God’s children.
    • Anointed with Chrism, the same oil used at the coronation of a monarch
  • Anointed with the Holy Spirit
    • In Baptism, God sends his Holy Spirit to live in us, sanctify us, and empower us for ministry.
  • Why baptize babies? They can’t express repentance or faith yet?
    • Parallel with circumcision by which Jewish boys were made a part of the covenant.
    • Acts 2:38-39 “Repent and be baptized…” “…for you and for your children…”
    • Parents and Godparents express faith along with their intention to raise the child to know and love the Lord.
      • This is also why the child is baptized not privately but among the fellow member of the church.
      • “Will you who witness these vows do all in your power to support these persons in their life in Christ?” “We will.”
    • The child still needs to express repentance and faith when they are older. This is why we have the sacrament of confirmation.

What are you Doing with your Baptism?

  • Imagine going on a vacation to somewhere beautiful, maybe Hawaii or the Rockies, and then sitting in your hotel room and watching TV the whole time.
    • You might wonder what the point of going to that place was.
  • Dr. Leslie Thyberg was walking on a part of the El Camino de Santiago in Spain and she came across a rock with French graffiti on it. Translated, it said, “What are you doing with your Baptism?”
  • When we witness the Baptism of a new Christian, we wonder about the things that God will call that person to do in the Kingdom and we rejoice!
    • It is also a good time to ask “What are you doing with your Baptism?”
  • Baptism is not just a moment to look back on and say “oh, that was nice”
    • Baptism commissions us for a life of following Jesus!
  • “Christian” means “follower” or “disciple of Christ”
    • The goal of a disciple of a rabbi was to become like the rabbi in every way
    • We too are to become like Christ in every way
  • Acts 10:38 – “God anointed Jesus…with the Holy Spirit and with power.”
    • “He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil…”
    • John 14:12 “greater works than these will he do…”
  • Baptism is a gift from God to you.
    • It is for you, for your salvation, for your sanctification
    • It is also for those around you, your brothers and sisters in Christ, and the people around you who don’t yet know Jesus.
    • Gen 12:3 – Abraham was blessed to be a blessing.
  • I’m not saying this to make you feel guilty, I’m saying it to inspire you.
    • You are a child of God!
    • Isaiah 42:3 – A bruised read, a faintly burning wick
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