S-1229 Baptism of our Lord/3A 01/09/10 Hymns (O) #5; (S) #833 LSB; LS #307; 298; #312; (C) #50
Text: Isaiah 42:1-7; Romans 6:1-11; Matthew 3:13-17
Theme: “DON’T Miss It!!!” (Isaiah 42:5).
Question: “Have you planned to do something and you missed it?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for the Baptism of our Lord is from the O.T: “Behold My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights; I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry aloud or lift up His voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice” (Isaiah 42:1-3).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved, His most holy Bride: in today’s age and media electronics we have signs all over to grab and draw our attention. Throughout all the large cities there are marquees, posters, billboards with flashing lights to cause us to look at them and see their advertisement. Now, even churches and small towns, like Armour have a sign as you come into town advertising the latest events and movies going on in town.
But there was a time in our history when people didn’t rely so much on the internet, face-book, instant messaging, billboards or neon signs to give them the latest news. There was the newspaper which people read. And if an event of great importance occurred there would be a special edition of the paper. Paper boys would stand on street sides with a bundle of papers and hollering, “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!”
Why do they do that? They don’t want you to miss out on what they are selling, peddling, or promoting. They want you to see and hear the latest news.
Today, the prophet Isaiah points us to God’s own billboard. God has a very important message to the world. He is not giving this responsibility to anyone like a prophet or a teacher but He Himself speaks in the O. T. lesson. In essence, God is saying to us, (lift my hands up and motion back and forth); DON’T MISS WHAT I HAVE TO SAY TO YOU. God’s marquee, neon sign or billboard announces the coming of the Servant—the the One who will bring justice to the nations and make His Law known to all people. This Servant of God has a very important mission of making the Law of God known to one and all, young and old. His mission is making known the Law as Law and Gospel: First, you need a Savior, a Lover, the only One who can help you, and Second, this One, this Savior, “He is My beloved One, in whom I am well pleased!”
The term “Law” as used here is Torah, meaning both Law/Gospel. God’s message and ministry is of the utmost importance and He wants us along with all people who lived in the past, living today, and will live in the future to hear it, learn it and live by it. For this reason He says, “DON’T MISS what I am sharing with you. DON’T miss the important message I have of the coming Servant. Note: He doesn’t come as a Master in the sense of a “Task Master” a Despot, or a Ruler who needs to be served. Rather, His title is “SERVANT.” “He has come not to be served, but to serve and to give His life as the Ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45).
The importance of this message by God is even confirmed in the Gospel lesson for today. Here, again, the Creator of the Universe doesn’t delegate this responsibility to anyone like a prophet or teacher. Oh, N0 He Himself takes center stage and speaks from heaven with a booming voice giving His approval of the coming Servant—the One who has come already in the flesh—His Son’s mission and ministry is to bring about the ointment of the Gospel to all in need. He is Servant, and a Servant who will lift up the hurting, mourning, afflicted, lonely, and oppressed by their sins, in short, you and me! PAUSE.
This is His mission, something He will declare just 11 chapters later, in Isaiah 53: Behold Him being led like a lamb to the slaughter outside the city gates on the cruel cross of Calvary. He goes, but He never opens His mouth to complain nor cry out. Instead, He gives His life for you and me. Behold again, with eyes of faith the marvelous gift of Baptism: Baptism is joined to death. Death is not the final chapter, dying with Christ we rise daily. Death ALWAYS brings victory. His death is our death, His resurrection is our Resurrection. His victory is our victory.
This is not a victory just for the history books. This is a very personal victory, a victory with your name on it, not as “victor” but as one who is an inheritor of the peace. You are, by virtue of your Baptism, not the victor, but “More than A CONQUEROR, MORE THAN A VICTOR. You are in inheritor of the Kingdom of God, even now.
We saw this victory just three days ago when we celebrated Christ’s victory and its completion in the life of our saints Herm. His empty place in the pew is felt by us all. His sage words of Godly wisdom will be missed. Ah, but they have been planted in our hearts, just as our Baptismal grace is. The Gift of Holy Baptism is this: God has called us into His Son’s Victory. He is the King, the Servant King who welcomes home His children. Herm and others who dies in the Lord, received their crown, but we who are left; we continue to walk by faith that is by light, and not by sight. He holds on to us with His Servant hands, those hands that are nail-pierced. He cradles us next to His heart, that heart that was pierced through, all because He has placed us, in our Baptismal Grace, into the Tomb He borrowed from Joseph of Arimathea.
Listen again to our Epistle: 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 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. 5 For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. We are placed in His tomb with Him, and just as it could not hold Him so also it cannot and does not hold us. Yes, Baptismal living right now is this: We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loved us. Jesus’ Baptism, the coming of the Servant King, humbly submitting to a Baptism unto forgiveness of sins (even though He was without sin) makes it possible for us to receive what He brought: Forgiveness for us, for indeed, in His Servant Reigning, He who knew no sin became sin for us that we would become the Righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21)
Yes, what Herm and others know now, so do we… the God who came to serve and give His life as our Ransom is here with us today and always will be.
Don’t miss it, beloved! Don’t miss this amazing gift, that in His Baptism not only is the Father is well pleased with Him, but on account of This Servant Son He is well pleased with you too.
The prophet Isaiah spoke so well, of this Son, this Jesus: who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it: 6 "I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations, 7 to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. Don’t miss it, you are His beloved. Don’t miss it, He has breathed the breath of Eternal Life into you. Don’t miss it, He has called you in His Son’s perfect righteousness. Don’t miss it, He is using you and your Baptismal place as His son or daughter, to reflect with Epiphany light, the goodness of the God who bursts open prison doors, who opens formerly shut eyes, who gives light, the light of life to those who have sat in the great and deep darkness.
Even so, Amen. HE hasn’t missed you! Amen and Soli Deo Gloria