Keyword Search

  • Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company
    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

    Buy Direct from CSS Publishing Company

Baptism Of The Lord (C)

There are no texts within the Older Testament that point specifically to the “Baptism of the Lord.” It is difficult, therefore, for those who construct lectionaries to identify Older Testament texts that can be related to the baptism of Jesus. It is also difficult for us who prepare and present homilies and sermons based on the lectionaries to ground our presentations on the Older Testament texts selected to be read on this day in which we focus attention on the baptism of Jesus.

Psalm 29

The specific life setting of Psalm 29 is obviously a thunderstorm hitting the entire west coast of Canaan and moving inland along a broad front that extends from Lebanon in the north to the wilderness of Kadesh in the south. The awesome sounds of the storm are attributed anthropomorphically to Adonai, whose voice is acclaimed as full of power and majesty. It is only in regard to this voice of Adonai that there is any notable connection with the specifics of the Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 account of Jesus’ baptism.

Isaiah 43:1-7

This text is a poetic celebration of the redemption of the people of Israel announced by the Lord God who has created, formed, and bought back from slavery God’s people Israel. God is said to love the people of Israel, who are honored and precious in the eyes of God. God is presented as promising to be with the people to lead and guide them safely through every danger that they might encounter, as well as to give the people of Egypt and the lands to the south of Egypt as a ransom price to buy back the people of Israel.

We can best connect this account to the baptism of Jesus texts by noting how God is said to love God’s people Israel in this Isaiah 43:1-7 text and to be pleased with Jesus, adopted through his baptism to become God’s chosen Son in the Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 text. By our baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we too are adopted into God’s chosen family of people. Through the use of this Isaiah 43:1-7 text as we celebrate the baptism of Jesus and our own baptism, we are symbolically united with the Israelites and Jews, not separated from them, but joined together with them. The Older Covenant and the Newer Covenant become one Covenant with one God.

Acts 8:14-17

Acts 8:14-17 is a small segment of the Lukan writer’s story about a man named Simon who wishes to purchase the power to bestow the Holy Spirit of God by placing his hands on people. In this text baptism in the name of Jesus was followed sometime later by the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the Lukan writer there apparently was some sort of progression from the baptism of Jesus to baptism in the name of Jesus to the gift of the Holy Spirit before, during, or after baptism in Jesus’ name. Possibly it was to illustrate a growing perception of the Trinity concept of God, i.e., God the Father bestows the gift of baptism on Jesus the Son of God and together they provide the gift of the Holy Spirit of God. We can compare this to the Trinitarian formula for Baptism in Matthew 28:19, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all kinds of people, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (my translation). Various Christians since the first century have interpreted the gift of the Holy Spirit in many different ways. The concept should be a unifying factor within Christianity, not a cause for boasting or division. Each of us has a share in the responsibility of making it and keeping it a unifying factor.

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

The Lukan writer linked the baptism of Jesus more closely to the baptism of “the people who had come to John” than did the Markan and Matthean writers. Also, the Lukan writer depicts the Holy Spirit of God as coming down in “bodily form,” as a dove coming down and landing upon his head.

For the writers and people of the Synoptic traditions, the baptism of the Jesus of history, his life, teachings, and everything that he did were pleasing to God and to them. Just as they perceived Jesus as in many ways recapitulating the life and experiences of all of the chosen ones of God who had preceded him (the Israelites and the Jews); so also should we. We should live so that everything that we do will recapitulate the life and teachings of the Jesus of history in his Jewish context, the Jesus of history who, after God raised him from the dead, is perceived by us to be the Christ of faith. Therefore, we shall want to learn as much as we possibly can about the specifics of the life of the Jesus of history. Then we shall live with him, die with him, and we believe that we shall also be raised from the dead with him, to the glory of God! This is essentially the message that we are called to share during the Epiphany season, the bridge between Christmas and Lent and Easter.

Leave a Reply

  • Get Your FREE 30-day Trial Subscription to SermonSuite NOW!
    Chris Keating
    The Double-Dog Dare Days of August
    August’s lazy, hazy dog days quickly became a deadly double-dog dare contest between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un, the supreme leader of North Korea. Both nations have been at odds with each other for nearly 70 years. During his working golf vacation in New Jersey last week, President Trump responded to North Korea’s rhetorical sword-rattling by launching a verbal preemptive strike of his own.
         Call it the Bedminster bombast, or the putt that rocked Pyongyang. But the duel between the two countries is more than fodder for late-night comedians. It’s a deadly standoff with history-changing repercussions.
         There is no vacation from matters of national security, or the orations of war. Indeed, much of the war of words between Washington and North Korea seems to confirm Jesus’ counsel in Matthew: “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles.” The contrasts between these barbed exchanges and the biblical understanding of peacemaking offers an intriguing opportunity to hear Jesus’ words in a world filled with double-dog (and even triple-dog) dares....more
    Feeding The 5,000
    The assigned Gospel text for this week skips over a couple of sections in Matthew's story. Matthew 14:34-36 cites Jesus' journey to Gennesaret. The crowds of people recognized him immediately and all of the sick came to him for healing. Just a touch of Jesus' garment brought healing to many. The crowd in Gennesaret recognized Jesus. They came to him in their need....more
    Wayne Brouwer
    Religious balkanization
    One dimension of religious life we have in common across faith traditions and denominational lines is the incessant divisiveness that split our seemingly monolithic communities into dozens of similar yet tenaciously varied subgroups. A Jewish professor of psychology said of his tradition, "If there are ten Jewish males in a city we create a synagogue. If there are eleven Jewish males we start thinking about creating a competing synagogue."...more
    C. David McKirachan
    Jesus Is Coming, Look Busy
    Isaiah 56:1, 6-8
    I had a parishioner who would walk out of the sanctuary if he saw a djembe (African drum) out in front to be used in worship.  I asked him about it, in a wonderfully pastoral manner, and he told me that things like that didn’t belong in worship.  I said that it was in the bible to praise God with pipes and drums (I think it is).  He told me he didn’t care what the Bible said, he knew where that thing came from and he wouldn’t have it.  I asked him why things from Africa would bother him.  He told me that he knew I was liberal but that didn’t mean he had to be.  I agreed with him but cautioned him that racism was probably one of the worst examples of evil in our world and I thought he should consider what Christ would think of that.  He asked me who paid my salary, Christ or good Americans....more
    Janice Scott
    No Strings Attached
    In today's gospel reading, Jesus seemed reluctant to heal the Canaanite woman's daughter. He told her that he wasn't sent to help foreigners, but only his own people, the Chosen Race. The words sound unnecessarily harsh, but perhaps this is an interpretation unique to Matthew, for this story only appears in Matthew's gospel, which was written for Jews....more
    Arley K. Fadness
    Great Faith
    Object: Hula Hoop or circle made out of ribbon, twine or rope
    What an amazing morning to come to church today. I am so glad to see you and talk to you about a wonderful story from the bible. Let me begin by showing you this circle. Now let's get into this circle. (Physically, all move into the circle) It's fun for us all to be together in this circle. We don't want anyone to be left out. To be left out is to be sad. To be kept out is even more sad and painful....more

Authors of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Norman A. Beck is the Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages and the Chairman of the Department of Theology, Philosophy, and Classical Languages at Texas Lutheran University
Dr. Norman A. Beck
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen