Worship preview for 1/13

During the Epiphany season, we see the human Jesus identified as the Son of God. At the Baptism of our Lord on the First Sunday after Epiphany, the Father speaks from heaven claiming Jesus as his Son. The Baptism of Jesus was the beginning of his public ministry, and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him anointed him to be our substitute and Savior.

  • In the Gospel reading, Jesus submitted himself to a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He had no sins of his own, but he took the sins of the world upon himself and began walking the road that would lead to his death in our place.
  • Therefore, the Old Testament reading reminds us that God is with us when we pass through the waters. He has created us for his own glory and redeemed us with the blood of his own Son. Surely we are now his own and will live with him in his kingdom.
  • The New Testament reading reminds us that we are already empowered through baptism to live the new Christ-like life as God’s children. Our baptism links us into the death of Christ, but also to his resurrection. The old sinful nature daily dies and the new Christian nature is resurrected, so that we might walk in newness of life.

Baptism in Christ carefully balances the terror of death and the exhilaration of resurrection. Sin is dismantled, disarmed, and destroyed. The sinner, engrafted now to Christ, becomes a new creation, baptized and resurrected like Jesus, alive to God and claimed by him as a child forever. The realm of death cannot possess the life of a believer.

The Gospel reading:

Luke 3:15-22

The Baptism of our Lord is an ‘epiphany’ (revealing) of the one true God in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. In divine mercy, Jesus took his place with sinners and was baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Not that he had any sins of his own, but he took the sins of the world upon himself and washed them away in the water. He was approved by the Father and anointed by the Holy Spirit to be our Prophet, Priest, and King. Today we too are baptized for the forgiveness of our sins and anointed with the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the new, Christ-like life.

The Old Testament reading:

Isaiah 43:1-7

The prophet Isaiah predicted Israel’s destruction at the hands of Babylon because of their idolatry. But he also predicted their redemption from slavery and return to the land God had promised them. He pictured that return from exile as a second exodus and passing through the Red Sea.

Isaiah’s picture can be extended to our situation today. God has redeemed us from slavery to sin by causing us to pass through the Red Sea waters of our Baptisms. But although we are already redeemed, problems in life still come. We have not yet reached the Promised Land; we are now in our time of exile or wandering in the wilderness. But problems will not stop us from reaching our heavenly goal! God does not want us to be afraid, because he is with us and he will bring us home.

The New Testament reading:

Romans 6:1-11

St. Paul argues that believers have been transferred from the era of sin and death under Adam to the new era of righteousness and life under the second Adam, Christ. We are united with Christ through Baptism, so that what has happened to him has happened to us. He died and was again raised to life, and so our sinful natures likewise die and a new Christian is raised to life each and every day. All who are baptized into Christ Jesus receive his anointing of the Holy Spirit and are considered by his Father to be beloved and well-pleasing sons and daughters. Rather than suggest sinning more to prompt more grace from God, St. Paul insists that sin is no longer compatible with the righteousness of those who have faith in Christ, and that will be completely true at our final, bodily deaths and resurrections.