After scouring the Internet for sermon and worship helps, here are some links and excerpts from some of the best resources I found. Click on the links to read more. Also, check out the following sites for further materials for your use:
Roman Catholic: Isaiah 42:1-4, Isaiah 42:6-7
Roman Catholic: Psalm 29:1-10
Book of common Prayer: Psalm 89:1-29 or Psalm 89:20-29
Roman Catholic and Book of Common Prayer: Acts 10:34-38
or check out these sites:
Bulletin cover for Sunday, January 13, Baptism of the Lord. Matthew 3:17 (Black and White)
John Baptizes Jesus "On You My Favor Rests" (Black and White)
The Baptism of Jesus (Icon)
The Baptism of Jesus by Greco
Descending Dove (Stained Glass)
The Baptism of Jesus (Black and White)
The Baptism of Jesus (Stained Glass)
The Baptism of Jesus by Gustav Dore (Black and White)
The Baptism of Jesus by He Qi
Jesus’ Baptism (Coloring Page)
Baptism of Jesus (Black and White)
Baptism of Jesus (Black and White)
Responsive Reading from Psalm 29 – Will Humes
Give glory to the Lord, O heavenly beings, Give to the Lord glory and strength.
Give to the Lord the glory of his name; worship the Lord in holy splendor.
The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over mighty waters.
The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars; the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord divides the fire’s flames.
The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness; the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord causes the deer to give birth, and lays bare the forest; and in his temple all say, “Glory!”
The Lord sits enthroned over the deluge; the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
The Lord will strengthen his people! The Lord will bless his people with peace!
Starters for Sunday, 13 January 2008. Thoughts on Readings, Prayers & Hymn Suggestions. Office for Worship, Doctrine and Artistic Matters, Church of Scotland.
Prayer of Adoration and confession
“There came a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I take delight’.” Matthew 3: 17
Let us pray:
Lord God, Ruler of Heaven and Earth,
You speak all things into being.
In your Creation, you chose to make atoms and molecules, stars and galaxies.
And so your voice was heard in love across all the universe –
a voice which speaks in love to us this day.
At Bethlehem, you spoke your Word into human form:
Christ, the Incarnate one, born to show the depth of your care and your concern for a world gone wrong.
On the Jordan’s banks, you spoke to your own Son,
voicing your delight in the one who was to do your will in acts of goodness and healing,
whether in life, or in death, or in Resurrection.
We hear your voice in our lives, yet so often we choose to ignore it.
We feel compelled to speak out for justice and of peace,
though time and again we overrule that compulsion with our excuses:
“What difference would it make?”
“Who would listen anyway?”
Help us we pray, to know your will for our world, and to act upon that will in our lives.
Show us how we can be people of living faith,
fueled by your calling, enlivened to speak, and to act, and to live for you, our God.
Forgive us for those many times when we let you down by our lack of vision
and by our unwillingness to hear your voice in our wilderness.
Forgive us, Lord.
Jesus assures us that if we turn to God in humility will be heard.
All who truly seek a new start in God’s love will be forgiven through his unfathomable grace alone.
Let us rejoice, then, resolving to give God glory and praise in our worship and in our works.
Thanks be to God!
Call to Worship based on Isaiah 42 from Liturgies Online, The Baptism of Jesus, by Rev Moira Laidlaw
Here is 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 or lift up his voice, o
r make it heard in the street;
a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
A Commission and Benediction from Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources Nathan Nettleton
Commission & Benediction
Go now as a light to the nations.
Honour the Lord;
preach what you know of the risen Christ,
and fulfil all righteousness.
And may God strengthen you and bless you with peace;
May Christ Jesus bring forth justice for you and among you;
And may the Holy Spirit alight on you
……..and affirm you as God’s beloved ones.
We go in peace to love and serve the Lord,
……..In the name of Christ. Amen.
©2001 Nathan Nettleton LaughingBird.net
Here is a paradox of the baptism of Jesus. On the one hand, it is the way that he "fulfills all righteousness" or shows himself to be who he ought to be, a man of integrity, virtue, one in right relationship with God. On the other hand, it is a precursor to his dying and rising. Yes, a voice from heaven announces to John, "This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased." But Jesus isn’t given long to bask in the descent of the Spirit of God; after his baptism he is led to the desert to fast for forty days and nights, become famished, then be tempted.
This paradox is what we face as we are baptized as well. On the one hand, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit. We are marked with the cross of Christ forever. We are called, even chosen. God takes us by the hand. But for what? So that we can be given as a covenant to the people. To those who are chosen by Jesus as witnesses, as we hear in Acts, and who eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead, as we do every time we gather for Holy Communion, comes God’s command to preach. We are called to tell the story that Jesus is the one ordained by God as judge and that through him, all who believe receive forgiveness in his name. It is important to tell the story on this day that not only pastors are called to preach. This is the kind of speaking we are all urged to do–telling the story of how Jesus was anointed, how he lived as a healer and one who did good, how he was killed and how God raised him and allowed him to appear to witnesses. This is the one!
Sermon Nuggets, Epiphany 1A (Baptism), 2008, Lindy Black. Illustrations, humor, questions, quotations.
-One evening the New Testament professor from Princeton Seminary visited a high school youth group. After the professor finished speaking about the significance of Christ’s baptism as
a revelation of God’s presence in Jesus, the high schooler said without looking up, "That ain’t what it means." Glad that the student had been listening enough to disagree, the professor asked,
"What do you think it means?" "The story says that the heavens were opened, right?" "Right." "The heavens were opened and the Spirit of God came down, right?" "That’s right."
The boy finally looked up and leaned forward, saying, "It means that God is on the loose in the world. And it is dangerous." After his baptism, Jesus went into the wilderness, and it was dangerous.
Jesus taught in the temples, and it was dangerous. Jesus healed on the Sabbath, and it was dangerous. Jesus confronted the authorities and turned over the tables, and it was dangerous. Daniel D.Chambers
The Gospel of Matthew uses its first three chapters to establish the identity of Jesus by 1) tracing the genealogy of Jesus back to Abraham, 2) describing the conversation of God’s angel with Joseph, 3) naming the infant Emmanuel and Jesus, 4) recounting the wise men search as well as the finding of the King of the Jews, and 5) recalling the words of John the Baptist as he prepares the people for the Messiah. But the baptism of Jesus identifies Jesus most clearly and fully as God’s own Son.
Despite John the Baptist being fully convinced of the coming of the Messiah and his efforts to prepare people for that event, John becomes hesitant in the presence of Jesus. John perceives himself unfit to baptize God’s anointed one, but fervently desires Jesus to baptize him.
1. What might be other reasons for John’s hesitation to baptize Jesus?
2. If Jesus is without sin, why would he need to be baptized?
3. If Jesus is baptized by John, does that make John better than Jesus? Explain.
You have been for me a stream, a river of God’s grace.
And you have shown me what the church can be,
what the people of God should be,
channels of grace into the world around us.
Streams and rivers of grace that flow to all,
regardless of who they are,
what they have done,
what has happened to them.
Unmerited loved and mercy,
shown by God’s redeemed sinners to other sinners,
just like them.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus is baptized by John the Baptist in the river Jordan.
We may think Jesus was too holy, or too pure, too sinless,
to need to be baptized.
But just as Jesus takes our place on the cross and assumes upon himself there our sinfulness,
so Jesus allows himself to be baptized to show his unity with us,
all of us sinners.
And because Jesus is one of us, but also God,
he is able to redeem us, forgive our sins, by dying on the cross.
He makes us children of God through his grace, his love,
regardless of our worthiness.
And he calls us to show that same grace and love to the world.
Why Was Jesus Baptized? by the Rev. Kristin E.
Have you ever wondered why Jesus was baptized? It’s a dramatic and familiar story. We just heard Matthew’s version of it. All four gospels recount the story of Jesus’ baptism in the River Jordan. But have you ever been troubled or puzzled by the fact that Jesus was baptized? Remember, in these stories Jesus is not doing the baptizing. He is himself baptized. By that ragged and very human prophet John the Baptist. Since the very time that the gospels were written church leaders and thinkers have been deeply disturbed by Jesus’ baptism.
And although many of the concerns and debates of religious scholars have very little relevance for everyday Christians in our every day lives, we should not dismiss this debate lightly. It is, after all, baptism we are talking about. What could be more relevant to our daily lives as Christians? If we have not worried about Jesus’ baptism, been disturbed by its occurrence, puzzled over its implications, then we have not thought enough about baptism. If we have taken Jesus’ baptism for granted, then we have taken our own baptisms for granted without addressing the real meaning of our baptisms in our lives.
Pastor Kwanza Yu of University Lutheran Church of Hope, Holy Baptism, His and ours
The Bible stresses Jesus’ baptism as a unifying and public act and it underscores three times: the first is that baptism is a source of solidarity. This is in opposition to the question such as “Why did Jesus need to be baptized.” Jesus never needed to be baptized. Christian theology from earliest times has believed that Jesus was like us in every respect except that Jesus was without sin. In baptism, Jesus joined with all the people who came to the Jordan. Jesus’ baptism is not so much for him as it is for us. It shows his solidarity with us in our human condition.
Baptism has always been a public act, an act of whole congregation and not something private, just for the family. In fact, baptism is the way that one becomes part of the church of Jesus Christ. It is both a public proclamation of faith and a requirement for belonging to God’s family, the church. So I think it would be wise, on the day when we celebrate the Lord’s baptism to consider why baptism is so important to living the community of believers in Jesus Christ.
William Willimon at Duke University says: “One can’t claim to be in Christ without being in the body of Christ. There is no solitary Christian, no way of doing the faith by a home correspondence course in salvation. Nor can you do the faith in the cozy comfort of your living room watching an evangelist do the faith on television. One who does not know the church does not know its Lord and does not know God. And baptism is the door.” (Pulpit Resource, Jan/Feb/ March, 2000, p.8).
From the Presbyterian Church of Cape Cod "God’s Servant – A Light for the Nations" Isaiah 42:1-9
It’s one of the world’s best-known paintings of one of the world’s best-known people, but it was never finished. It was the spring of 1945. As painter Elizabeth Shoumatoff worked at her canvas in Warm Springs, Georgia, President Franklin Roosevelt suddenly slumped in his wheelchair, dead of a cerebral hemorrhage. Hence, its name – the Unfinished Portrait. Work on the project never resumed. The artist had sketched the shadows of the president’s face, and had begun to fill in around the hairline. A sketch – not a full portrait – but it bore the unmistakable likeness of the great man.
For the next few weeks, we look at a sketch of Jesus Christ presented by God’s prophet, Isaiah. The portrait comes in the form of a famous servant song. There are four of them – found in Isaiah 42, this morning’s scripture reading, and in chapters 49, 50, and 53. The object of Isaiah’s sketch bears the attributes of deity, yet he appears among us as a servant. Isaiah sketches his life – he does not give us a full portrait – yet it nevertheless bears the unmistakable likeness of our Lord Jesus Christ.
In the remarkable passage before us, the first thing that stands out is that Jesus is a servant. Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant. He says to each of us, “Look – there is my servant. You dare not ignore him.” And in verses 1-4, God fixes our eyes on his servant.
My servant. This is a remarkable title. The distinguishing mark of a servant is that he does the bidding of the one he serves. He does not advance his own agenda, but the agenda given to him his master. Not his will, but the Lord’s will counts. Self-interest is jettisoned in service to another.
The Baptism of Jesus By the Rev. Kit Billings, the Swedenborgian Church
The literal and internal truth of the Word tells us that at least three important things were being accomplished in this moment when the Lord’s three year ministry initially began:
1. The ritual of baptism was being put in place as a holy sacrament in Christianity, in place of the holy washings then being done in Judaism.
2. Our Lord needed to "fulfill all righteousness."
3. As Jesus grew and developed, it was important for him to experience and feel and know his divine soul guiding him.
There are two essential gates through which every Christian must pass on his or her way into a heavenly way of life: baptism and the Holy Supper. While the real hammering out of our spiritual rebirth over many years happens in our everyday choices and life experience, there is a vital need for these sacraments. The Lord made this clear by his choice to be baptized and his command to "baptize all nations in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19), and by instituting the Holy Supper in the upper room before his crucifixion. Thus, we need to embrace these rituals deeply as well.
AN OPEN WINDOW by Glenn Berg-Moberg at St. Antthony Park Lutheran Church
Matthew’s gospel says that crowds of people were coming out to the desert to hear John the Baptizer. "Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan," Everybody knew they needed to come and be cleansed. Everybody saw the barriers between themselves and God. That is very much like today, despite all the other differences between now and then. People are hungry for an experience of God they can trust. Then and now.
Then came Jesus. Then he was baptized. Now, quoting Matthew, "when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him."
In Mark it is a more violent image. In Mark it says, "…he saw the heavens torn apart…"
Mark’s gospel implies that the barrier had to be broken, even shattered. Matthew’s language seems tame. Where Mark says ‘torn’ or ‘split’ Matthew uses a word that simply means opened. To me it makes God seem more willing and more able to meet us. No need for destruction. No need for pyrotechnics, Jesus walks the earth and when he does the windows of heaven open.
Jesus breaks barriers. Jesus opens doors. That is your Good News to
day. To the simple peasants of Palestine, heaven could only be reached if someone broke through the dome of the sky. To us today there still are barriers. The coldness and hostility of society, our fear and doubt, our claiming and clinging to status.
"Lord, Bless This Mess, Please!" A Sermon at the Daystar Conference by Steve Krueger
Ernst Kaesemann, the great New Testament scholar, taking his cue from one Martin Luther, in his commentary on St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, plays with Paul’s monumental phrase "the righteousness of God," which is now revealed through faith in Christ. And what is revealed, according to Kaesemann, is this radical thing. In Kaesemann’s words: "God’s grasping of his world" through grace (p. 93). As if righteousness does not consist in purity! God’s righteousness consists in Christ’s willing solidarity with sinners through which they are redeemed, through whom their lives are justified, and in whom sinners are offered a brand new chance at life with God! It is in blessing messes that God is righteous in Christ, claiming the rights to those messes as God’s own, including messes like you and me.
At the baptism of Our Lord, as Jesus commands his cousin John to immerse Him in a sinner’s baptism, "to fulfill all righteousness," the whole Trinity gets in on the act. The Spirit descends as a dove and a Proud Poppa in heaven speaks His Word, "That’s my boy! That’s my child! Of whom I am proud as punch!"
God’s major kick, His "proper work" as Luther called it, is identifying redemptively with messy sinners and their lives. The purists won’t like it. They’ve got some wrong-headed notion of righteousness that excludes sinners and the mess of their sins…but they just don’t get the righteousness of God in Christ. God loves hanging out with sinners and redeeming them and their lives. Just read the Gospels and get it straight!
Baptism of our Lord (Sermon Text: Isaiah 42:10-16 ) Victory? Read sermon by Pastor Johnston at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church (PDF file)
Victory. What does that word make you think of? Superbowls, parades, fireworks, riches, muscle and adrenaline? Victory. Look around you. Do you see victory here? Look in the pews. Many of them are empty.
Are we gathered today with our country’s richest and most influential people? Are we all finely adorned? Does the world see us as the cream of the crop? Look at your preacher. Certainly handsome, athletic, witty, with one good foot, but nothing to write home about. Victory?
Why don’t we see an abundance of victory among us? Our eyes are in the wrong place. The Christian’s victory hangs on the cross. We are victors by association. We are crowned with the triumph of another, of our Substitute, of Jesus Christ.
Israel was at an all-time low when Isaiah spoke. The Northern Kingdom had been conquered. The Southern Kingdom was teetering. The Church was crumbling. There was little reason to hope. Yet Isaiah spoke of victory. But how? There was no hint of victory in the daily headlines.
Jesus, Why Did You Come to the Jordan? (Matthew 3:13-17) Pastor Steven Pagels
If you could ask Jesus absolutely anything, what would you want to know? If the all-seeing, all-knowing Son of God was standing in front of you ready and willing to give you the answer to any question, what would it be?
Maybe you would want to find out something about your future. When will I die? How will I die? Will I die? If not, Jesus, when are you coming back? And when you do, what will life be like in heaven?
Or maybe you would want the answer to some secret from the ancient past. Did the earth always look the same as it does today? What was the world’s first spoken language? What happened to the dinosaurs?
Or maybe you would ask Jesus to shed some light on a mystery from Bible history. What was the original location of the Garden of Eden? Who was Melchizedek? What ever happened to the Ark of the Covenant?
The text for this morning presents us with another Biblical question, a question that has puzzled theologians for centuries. After thirty years of living in relative obscurity, after three decades confined to the area in and around the Galilean city of Nazareth, Jesus decided that it was time to leave. And so he packed up and headed for the region of the Jordan.
The question is: “Why?” Why did Jesus seek out John the Baptist? Why did Jesus want to be baptized by him? Why here? Why now? Jesus isn’t here to answer all of our questions this morning, but he has given us his Word. And the inspired words of Matthew will provide us with everything we need to get to the bottom of this important question…
Matthew 3:13-17 (The Baptism of Jesus) by Josh Osbun at his website "The Crazy Lutheran’s Sermons
For all of John’s strengths, it is here that we see his weakness. Though John called forth to “prepare the way of the Lord,” it is here at the Jordan that John’s name is added to the long list of people who worked to steer Christ off of His path. Herod’s greed for power led him to massacre the innocents of Jerusalem; Mary and Joseph forgot the words of the Angel of the Lord and were confused at the boy Jesus in the temple; and Peter gave his bold confession upon which Christ’s Church would be built, and not six verses later he tried to deny Jesus’ imminent death on the cross. And so John is added to the list as he vehemently worked to keep Christ from being baptized. However, Christ’s path had been laid out for Him, and He would not be swayed from it.
So let it be for now, John, in order that all righteousness may be fulfilled. For Christ came to be baptized not because He needed to be washed clean from sin, but rather to fulfill all which you are incapable of doing.
“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
In the name of Jesus. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. A Baptism, in the wilderness, which we’re told drew from the regions of Jerusalem and Judea, and all the region around the Jordan. A Baptism for the Abraham and David crowd. A Baptism for the Jews who were in need of repentance. Thus, they come to John, confessing their sins, and being baptized into a repentance that would prepare them for He who was soon to come.
A Baptism for Beloved Israel… A Baptism for wayward Israel.
No wonder John is surprised when Jesus Himself comes on the scene desiring to be baptized. John is surprised because John knows exactly who he is. John had just spoken of this Jesus a few verses earlier . . .