Baptism of Christ – Sermon 12

13th February 2011 Off By Derek Buckthorpe

Prayer to start

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



So what’s new? – Well – we’re two weeks into the New Year – the sales are in full swing – encouraging us to go out and buy new things – a new three piece suit for instance – or a TV or C-D player – or a new computer game – (If you have a teenage daughter like me – it will be new clothes or new boots)–

We all like getting new things – its exciting and lifts us – starting out on a new job or new task can be exciting too – it gives us a new challenge to respond to (- as long as it doesn’t involve too much painting and decorating that is)-

(What about starting out on a new ministry in the church – is that an exciting prospect – or does it make us shake in our boots?

We have a new lectionary – which has given us some new feast days – today we celebrate the baptism of Christ –

Jesus’ Baptism marks the beginning of a new activity by God – through Jesus Christ – which will bring about a new understanding of God’s love towards His people

It’s described in all four Gospels – and in St. Luke’s version we are going to look at three important points – which are fundamental to Jesus Baptism and future ministry – action – prayer – and the Holy Spirit –

Point 1

first there’s Action – Action by God – Jesus’ Baptism didn’t just happen – it was an act of God

First we see – God acting through John the Baptist – who went all over the Jordan Valley proclaiming – a Baptism by water – as a token of repentance for the forgiveness of sins

John was a very effective speaker – He used the language of the desert – to get his message across – the Jews thought themselves a privileged race – that as sons of Abraham they were not subject to the same standard of judgement as the rest of the world – John had to convince them that their racial privilege meant nothing

the people responded – John’s proclamation of God’s judgement on the world – and imminent arrival of God’s Messiah really – "fired them up" – there was an unprecedented movement towards God – people were eagerly awaiting the New King

In verse 16 – John says

" I Baptise you with water, but there is one coming who is mightier than I am ……… – I am not worthy to unfasten the straps of His sandals "

and in verse 17

" His winnowing shovel is ready in His hand to clear this threshing floor – and gather up the wheat into His granary – but the chaff He will burn on a fire that will never be put out
“These were strong words of impending judgement from John – and the peoples expectations were high

and when Jesus came forward to be Baptised – again we see action by God

Jesus is publicly revealed to be God’s beloved Son –
and is anointed by Him with the Holy Spirit
God visibly transfers the Spirit to Jesus

From this time on – Jesus is the one through whom God acts in the world

God shows His great love for us through the gifts of His creation – through His acts of forgiveness – despite our lack of obedience to Him – He knows us personally – and wants to claim each one of us for His own

as Isaiah says in chp 43 v 1

"…….. this is the word of the Lord – the word of your creator – of Him who fashioned you Israel – Have no fear – for I have redeemed you – I call you by name – you are mine

God sent His son to show us how we should live our lives – From the time of His Baptism – Jesus will be God on the earth – and God’s love will be seen through Him

Point 2

Next we have prayer – in verse 21 – Luke points to a personal act of private prayer by Jesus – He prays to the Father before He receives the Holy Spirit

Prayer is shown to be important in the receiving of the Holy Spirit in our N T lesson – It was the beginning of the fulfilment of the great commission given by Jesus to His disciples – Persecution of Christians in Jerusalem had forced the church to scatter –

and Philip was in a town in Samaria – the Samarians were dispised by the Jews because they were thought to have mixed blood – following the Assryian occupation of Israel in 8th Century BC – many in Jerusalem considered it a violation of Jewish convictions – to launch any evangelistic work among such people

Philip preached the Gospel of Christ to them and many were Baptised and became identified with the church – but it was not until Peter and John prayed for them – and laid their hands on them – that they received the Holy Spirit

Prayer is vital at Baptism and at any time – if we are prepared to submit our thoughts and ourselves to Jesus then He promises to send the Holy Spirit to help us – As Jesus says in Matt 7 v 7

"Ask and you will receive – seek and you will find – knock and the door will be opened to you"

Point 3

This brings us to the third point – the coming of the Holy Spirit

Luke makes the actual baptism subordinate to the coming of the Spirit – the Baptism itself is not described – it only points to the main event – "the descending of the Holy Spirit on Him in Bodily form"

The Spirit is given to Jesus by God – So from the time of His Baptism Jesus possesses the Spirit – the Spirit and the Son are together – and the Spirit will stay with the Son right through His ministry

only when Jesus is finally raised to heaven will there be a new and glorious releasing of the Spirit upon God’s people at Pentecost

As John the Baptist prophesised in v 16 of our Gospel

" He will Baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire”

The Holy Spirit transforms us and brings us the gifts of leadership, wisdom and truth – He is our comforter – and moves us to act – The Spirit is essential to the work and expansion of the church – and if we allow the Spirit to act through us – then much can be achieved


In Jesus Baptism we see the full Trinity in unison – the creative action of the Father, the redeeming love of the Son and the Guiding power of the Holy Spirit

Baptism is the sign and seal of a new beginning – a rebirth – a new creation – As shown by Jesus’ Baptism not only a symbolic washing with water but a direct intervention by God and the Holy Spirit –

In the Gospels – Jesus tells us that unless we are born again in the Spirit we cannot see the Kingdom of God –

God has given us the way to that rebirth – through the redeeming love of Jesus Christ – who suffered death on a cross so that our sins could be forgiven –

Through faith and trust in Jesus we are incorporated into the Body of Christ and into a positive and new relationship with God –

Through faith and trust in Jesus we are given the promise of salvation and eternal life

At our Baptism – for most of us – our promises of faith and trust were made for us by our parents and God-parents –

So in this new year – how about making a resolution that will lead us to a new beginning

– by affirming our faith and trust in Jesus Christ – using our Baptism vows – and renewing our commitment to God’s service – not just on Sunday – but everyday !

Prayer to Finish

In the name of the Father So and Holy Spirit