Sermon On The Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ Sister Mary Christian Cross, January 12, 2014 INTRODUCTION: If we were to imagine S. John the Baptist in contemporary terms, I wonder how we would portray him. Perhaps we could imagine S. John, surrounded by a hundred or so followers (and we are told that he had many followers in the event that we consider today) marching down Burrard Street, heading up a protest against the people of the area who needed to repent. Perhaps he leads them to Lost Lagoon for the baptism for the washing away of their sins. John is a man of righteous indignation in much the tradition of the prophet Elijah who, we remember, killed the prophets of Baal, and was run out of town by the highly indignant Queen Jezebel. Into this scene comes Jesus much to the dismay of John who announces that he, John, needs to be baptized by Jesus. But Jesus insists, and as we watch the Spirit in the form of a dove comes down upon Jesus and a voice from heaven announces that Jesus is His Son, the Beloved in whom God is well pleased. John must have thought that the era of the coming of the Messiah was upon them. But later when John, after denouncing Herod for marrying Herodias is thrown in Jail, sends word through his disciples to ask if Jesus is truly the Messiah, or should they be looking for another. Jesus answers quoting the prophet Isaiah “tell John what you see, the blind see, the deaf hear, lepers are cleansed and the poor have good news preached to them.” In other words, “look at my record, not one of denunciation, but one of healing and of hope”. NEW LIFE: In other words my coming among you is to make all things new. BAPTISM FOR US: We too are baptized with water for the remission of sins. We die symbolically in the water of baptism in order to rise with Christ in the Resurrection. We receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit, And are made new members of the Body of Christ, the Church, in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
COROLLARY: We are baptized not in the tradition of the Old Testament prophets but in the fulfillment of their teachings in the resurrection life and witness of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Incorporated into His Body we exercise the gifts of the Holy Spirit for all of God’s Creation. CONCLUSION: This morning we see two ways of practicing righteousness: •
The way of denunciation of wrong doing calling for radical repentance.
The way of identification with the Body of Christ sharing with Christ not only His sacrificial offering on the Cross, but day by day preaching in our lives and witness and in union with His life the good news of the Gospel. The second way into which we are baptized is the way of sacrificial love, of radical love for all humankind. Isaiah: “See the former things have come to pass but new things I declare.”
Published on Feb 1, 2014