The Baptism of Our Lord
He Saved Us
Text: Titus 3:4-7
There was a father once who had a number of children, and ooh I tell you, those children were something. They sure had a mind of their own. The father loved them though. He protected them tirelessly, even when they didn’t realize he was doing it. He provided for them graciously, even though they weren’t always thankful for it. In addition to all of that love, he also taught them what was right and good for them to do.
For example, there was a local cliff in town. All the other children loved to go near it. But it was so dangerous. The children didn’t realize it, but even though there was water below, the fall off the cliff could result in death. The father knew this, so he told his children exactly what to do and what not to do. He told them to stay away from the cliff, to not even flirt with the thought of the cliff but rather to stay on the straight and narrow and veer away from disaster and death.
But did the children listen? Of course not. The thought of the cliff was so exciting and exhilarating—so tempting. All the other kids were doing it. Why couldn’t they? So day by day they began to disobey their father more and more. They veered off the road toward the cliff more and more as they daringly dabbled with danger. The father knew it and repeatedly warned them about what he wanted and the danger of disobeying. But they didn’t listen. Finally it got to the point where they were pretty much doing the exact opposite of what their loving father wanted and they were at the cliff every day. Read the rest of this entry
Devotion Text: Psalm 2
We all have some sort of treasured possession.
Some of us treasure mementos–gifts from loved ones, objects with sentimental value from our children or relatives who have passed on, objects of real value that we hope will be a nest egg or trinkets that connect us to a cherished memory from long ago.
Others of us treasure utilitarianism–that gadget that makes your job or life so much easier, that piece of furniture that doesn’t look very nice but feels great to sink into after a long day, that vehicle that “gets you there” and looks great doing it.
In Psalm 2, God tells us about his treasured possession and foretells a time when he would set that possession apart to do great things for God’s people. At Christ’s baptism, God the Father let everyone know who Christ was when he said, “This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well-pleased.” In Psalm 2, the inspired writer let’s us know exactly how important that son would be, trampling the Lord’s enemies and blessing his people.
For the Hebrew people, this image of pouring the waters of baptism over Jesus’ head to set him apart would be common as anointing special people and objects was part of their culture and heritage. The words Messiah (Hebrew) and Christ (Greek) both mean, “the anointed one.” This baptism, setting Christ apart for the redeeming work he was about to do, was the most glorious anointing this world would ever see.
Most importantly, God certainly cherished Jesus because of who he was (his son), but God also cherished Jesus because of what he was able to do–save God’s people from their sins.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, my anointed Savior, thank you for coming to earth to live a perfect life and to die for my sins. At your baptism, God set you apart for that work and was not ashamed to call you his son. Give me the strength to never be ashamed of you in my life, to proclaim your cross in my words and actions and to be well-pleased with every gift you have graciously given me. Amen.
Sermon on Matthew 3:13-17
1st Sunday after the Epiphany: The Baptism of Our Lord
God’s Beloved Son is Anointed
1. To serve
2. To save
Text: Matthew 3:13-17
A beaming father stops at the Preschool to pick up his little boy. “Johnny! What a wonderful elephant you colored!” “Dad, it’s a space ship.” “Oh. I mean, what a cool space ship you colored!” It doesn’t matter if Johnny’s zoo animal looks like a spacecraft. It still will end up on the refrigerator.
A glowing father embraces his son after the big game. “Great game, son. You played really well tonight.” It doesn’t matter if his son missed eight three pointers and air-balled a free throw or if he won the game with a basket at the buzzer. Like all fathers, he is just proud.
Another glowing and radiant Father also beamed with pride and joy. The heavens parted and the people trembled as he bellowed from heaven, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” With those mighty words of powerful importance, God’s Beloved Son was Anointed. Read the rest of this entry