The Baptism of our Lord – Sermon 1/8/2012

January 8, 2012 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

“Today the Source of all the graces of baptism comes himself to be baptized in the river Jordan, there to make himself known to the world.”

The Rev. Maurice C. Frontz, III, STS

United Lutheran Church, Lock Haven; St John Lutheran Church, Booneville

The Baptism of our Lord

8 January 2012


Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.


In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Those words stand forth boldly inside this worship space

and now on the outside of this building.

In a world that worships many gods,

we have these words as a proclamation of the God we worship.

We worship the God who is Trinity,

God in three persons,

and yet there is perfect harmony between these three equal persons,

which is why we can say still that there is one God.


In the first lesson from Genesis,

we see God’s Spirit hovering over the face of the waters.

God speaks his Word,

and the universe is brought into being.

We have the Trinity at the creation:

God the Father, the Creator,

God the Son, the Word through whom all things are made,

And God the Spirit, the life-giver, the one who breathes life into the world.


When Jesus, the Word made flesh, came for Baptism,

He heard the voice of his Father,

And he saw the Spirit descending upon him like a dove.

We have the Trinity at Jesus’ baptism.

The Father’s voice, the Son in flesh, the Spirit as a dove.


And when we were baptized,

when we were washed with ordinary water

made holy by God’s Word,

The Trinity was there too.

The Father, adopting us as his very own son or daughter.

Just as Jesus is the son of God by nature,

so in Baptism we become sons and daughters of God by adoption.


When we were baptized,

we became brothers or sisters of the King, Jesus.

That makes us royalty, no matter where we came from or what we’ve done.

The Father looks at us as if we were Jesus, his own beloved.

He forgives our sins for the sake of Jesus

and gives us victory over death and the evil one.



When we were baptized, the Spirit was given to us

as a pledge of our inheritance in the heavenly kingdom.

When we hear the Word, when we remember our baptism,

when we come to the Lord’s table,

the Spirit is stirred up in us, calling us to be like our elder brother Jesus,

to live his life in the world.


Baptism is a gift,

but it is also a calling.

When we come to Lent,

we will hear that immediately after he was baptized,

Jesus was driven out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

To have oneself named God’s child

is to identify with God,

and in case you have not noticed,

God is not welcome in the world he created.

Instead, anger, fear, anxiety, hatred, greed, desire, pride, envy, gossip,

and a whole host of other destructive powers

threaten to choke off relationship and keep us from God and our neighbor.


It’s always a question for us every new day.

Today, this day, do we want to live our own life,

Separate from God and our neighbor,

Free to do what we want to do and say what we want to say

without having to answer to anyone or listen to anyone

or serve anyone or sacrifice for anyone?

Or do we wish to live in the relationship that God has given us in baptism,

Relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Which is always a relationship of love for the Triune God

and for the people and world he created?


Baptism is not simply a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

Rather it’s the start of your personal participation

in the life of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

I mentioned before that if we are the brothers and sisters of the King,

we are royalty: princesses and princes.

I think of that show ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’

where young girls are taught that their worth is defined

by being cuter, more attractive, and more talented than other girls.

They want to be adored, they want to be served, they want to be flattered.

It’s a sickening display of the self-centeredness that dominates our culture.



But if any of you took The Divine Drama with Pastor Shipman,

you’ll remember that Jesus is always symbolized as a crowned kneeling figure.

Now kings do not kneel to anyone,

But this one did.

This king knelt before his disciples to serve them.

This king gave all that he had for his beloved.

That’s the kind of princesses and princes God’s calling us to be.

That’s the life we are invited to in baptism.

When we know the joy of humble service in Christ’s name,

we will know the joy of his presence

and the promise of everlasting life in his Kingdom.




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