The Norman Transcript

January 11, 2013

The epiphany season and Jesus’ baptism

By Pastor David R. Nehrenz
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Christians all over the world are now in the season of Epiphany. Four vital aspects of the life of Jesus Christ are celebrated. The star guiding the Wise Men to come worship the Christ Child, the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan River, the first miracle of Jesus in turning water into wine at Cana, and the Transfiguration and shining glory of Jesus on the high mountain.

“Epiphany” means that Jesus, the Light of the world, has appeared amidst the world’s darkness to enlighten the people of all nations. That Light brings forgiveness of sins, life and salvation.

This Sunday is the celebration of the second great Epiphany event, the Baptism of Our Lord. In Luke 3:15-22, we read that John said, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people.”

Jesus was the Son of God in eternity before he became man, born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus is mighty and John bore witness to him. Christ came into the world to bear the fire of God’s wrath against sin by his death on the cross. He did this in our place as the Second Adam.

After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit and fire were poured out on mankind. Those who believe that Jesus died as our Substitute and rose for our justification (by grace through faith), will be gathered like wheat into the barn. Those who reject him and refuse to believe will be burned like chaff in the fire.

The good news is that God wants all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. The proof of that is in Jesus, the Second Adam, who was also baptized for us, to fulfill all righteousness.

In Luke 3:15-22, we also read, “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

Here we see all three persons of the Holy Trinity: the voice of the Father, the baptism of the Son and the dove of the Holy Spirit. The Father is well pleased with his Son. Jesus actively kept the Law perfectly for us and passively allowed Pontius Pilate to crucify him in our place. The Father’s plan since Genesis chapter 3 was that Jesus would be pierced on the cross, but in so doing, he would crush the head of the serpent, the devil.

Jesus stood in the water of the Jordan River and was baptized to fulfill all righteousness for us. He is the Second Adam, who in obedience has come to undo the curse that came because of the first Adam’s disobedience in the Garden of Eden.

Now the heavens have been opened to all believers. When the Holy Spirit descends upon us to give us the gift of faith, we are peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Epiphany joy be upon us all, in Jesus the Light of the world.

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