Saturday, February 14, 2009

“Good Job!” (Mark 1:9-11)

S‑1094 1/11/2009 Baptism of the Lord (O)#131; (S)# 134; L.S.# 301; #316; #298; (C)# 20

Texts: Genesis 1:1-5; Romans 6:1-11; Mark 1:4-11

Theme: “Good Job!” (Mark 1:9-11)

Question: “When was the last time someone told you “good job!?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our meditation is from the Gospel lesson:In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when He came up out of the water, immediately He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son; with You I Am well pleased(Mark 1:9-11).

Saints in Christ, a basketball player comes off the court and his coach says, “Good job!” A student turns in a test, and her teacher writes, “Good Job!” An employee gets a message that the boss wants to see him, and when he goes to the office the boss say, “Good Job!” A new military recruit is in training, and his commander tells her, “Good Job!” Today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we hear God telling us that His Son is doing a Good Job.

Mark informs us that many people were going out in the wilderness to be baptized by John. And while John was baptizing many repentant sinners, Jesus comes and stands among the multitudes and is baptized like the rest of humanity. As He comes out of the water we hear the voice of God’s approval on His Son’s mission to save the world with these words, ‘You are My beloved Son; with You I Am well pleased’” With these words, God was saying to Jesus, “Good Job!”

Why is it that even at the beginning of Christ’s mission that the Father speaks these words? Why are not these words spoken after everything had been completed by the heavenly guest who came to earth? Because when God spoke these words, it is as if the events had already happened.

This mission which Jesus was about to embark on following His baptism was the saving of humanity from hell’s destruction. Christ began saving us by taking our sins and the sins of the whole world on Himself. Jesus comes to the Jordan River as an innocent and holy child of God, yet associates Himself with sinners by being baptized just like them. Please keep in mind that Jesus didn’t need to be baptized for His sins. He had nothing for which to repent, for He was spotless and sinless. But He did it for us to fulfill all righteousness. He did it as the Lamb of God who took upon Him all of the world’s sins. And by this act, Jesus shows us how important Baptism is and what a good job He did in this marvelous gift.

In Baptism, we have a mighty work of God, by which our sinful nature is drowned, and a new man in the image of Christ is brought forth.  So Baptism is not merely a minor event that happened in our past.  It is a great treasure with deep meaning for our life as Christians. And because we are baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, God’s ultimate job for our sake, we would want to do a good job so that the words that were spoken by our heavenly Father at the Baptism of His son might be spoken over us as well. PAUSE.

We live in a world that demands that we do a good job or we will not be accepted. Consider the ratings that President Bush has many would say, “He didn’t do a good job as a president.” Many in the Republican Party say John McCain didn’t do a good job running his campaign. Many in the stock market tell us that Madoff didn’t do a good job protecting his investors’ money; instead he stole from them billions of dollars. Many would say that Coach Brad Childress of the Minnesota Vikings didn’t do a good job last Sunday in the playoff game.

But what about us? Have we done a good job? If God were to view our lives, will He say to us “Good Job”? Will He be pleased with how we live our lives for Him? Will He be pleased of how we spend our money? Will He be pleased with the use of our talents? Will He be pleased in how we treat our neighbor? Will He be pleased with our mission efforts? Certainly not!

Why not? Because most often we live for ourselves rather than for God and His Kingdom. We are so different than our Savior. Our Savior, the sinless Lamb of God came to earth to carry out the Mission of God. On the other hand, we want to carry out our mission. We live for our personal gain. We live for the moment and not eternity. We don’t do the good job that we are supposed to be doing, as the Apostle Paul reminds us in Ephesians: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. (2:10).

Indeed, this is why we are still around in this world. We have been baptized. By that act we have become children of the heavenly Father. By this act we become soldiers of the cross. In Holy Baptism we pledge ourselves to the blood flag of our Redeemer. Through this act, Jesus our big brother lives in us to do a good. But we have failed miserably in that department.

But on account of Christ we can be thankful for all that He has done. In Mark 7 we read these words: “He has done everything well!” (36). The people who came in touch with Jesus saw in His Words and deeds the image of God carrying out the ministry of love in action. Jesus did do a “Good Job”—healing blind eyes, opening deaf ears, healing crooked legs and arms, liberating people from leprosy, comforting the crumbled heart, freeing those imprisoned in their own sin—yes, Jesus does all things well for our benefit. And He still does them even today.

The Good Job of the Savior was begun at His baptism, was carried out in Gethsemane when the Good Job of Christ was fulfilled in Him giving His life in death on the disgraced cross as a Lamb. And it was completed by Christ’s rising from the dead on the third day. The Good Job of Jesus is ours by faith alone. The Good Job of the Messiah will never be taken away from us. The Good Job of Jesus is ours today. He showers us with His good job as He forgives our sins; as He blesses us in receiving His body and blood and He sends out in is peace to do a good job for Him.

For this reason we Lutheran Christians cherish our Baptismal day. For on that day we became children of God. On that day the grace and Mercy of God became ours on account of our Savior, Jesus Christ. On that day the power of death was removed from us and life in heaven was given us. On that day forgiveness was granted us in the simple means of the water and the Word. On that day life as a child of God was begun. Pastor Paul put it this way in our Epistle reading: “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:1-4).

Beloved in the Lord, the water has long since evaporated from your skin.  But the Blessing remains, now and forevermore because God says to us, “with You I am well pleased”. And because God at Christ’s baptism accepted His saving work, He is well pleased with us.

Christ’s baptism is important not only for Himself but for us also. Because Jesus was baptized for our salvation, we are baptized and given salvation in His name. He clothed us in His robe of righteousness, and that gift of salvation is what makes God say to us, “Good Job son/daughter! Good Job of reaching the lost! Good Job of sharing the Good News! Good Job of being my faithful disciples! Good Job in loving your neighbor! Good Job in living for me. Good Job in your stewardship life” PAUSE.

A young man rejoices in being praised by his coach. A young woman is happy when she gets the results on the test saying, “Good Job!” How much more for us the followers of the Savior, to hear our heavenly Father say, “My son, My daughter with YOU I am well pleased!?”

God grant us always the joy of hearing theses words spoken to us solely as a gift by His grace alone. Amen.

Now the peace of God…

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