Baptized in the Jordan

You never know what people are going to say – This week I was in a doctor’s office (nice guy) and mentioned I was going to travel to Israel next week. He immediately told me, “My son went to Israel and was able to be baptized in the Jordan”. He was thrilled, clearly to share that with me, and I had many questions, but kept them to myself. “How wonderful” I replied. And the doctor wished me a blessed trip. So,  I learn again how much Baptism means to people, and how thrilled they are by the connection to Jesus’ baptism. We  Christians model our behavior to Christ’s behavior. He was baptized, and so we will be baptized.

I found the artwork connected to this blog online, and the source is a baptistry in Ravenna, Italy. I chose it because of the simplicity – the essentials are there for a great sermon in art! Jesus is in the water, John is baptizing him (though his perch seems a bit precarious), and the trinity is depicted. Since 300 years after Christ’s birth, we have spoken of the Trinity – God the father, God the son, and God the holy spirit. And this is the scene where that conversation coalesces.

God the Son – Jesus, fully God, fully man, participates in John the Baptists’ baptism of repentance (many were coming, and listening to John’s cry of REPENT!).

And the amazing part is not over, after the son of God allows a man to baptize him like so many had been – as a sign of the need of the people to turn from past behaviors, and move to God’s light. The next amazing part is the spirit of God descending bodily like a dove. And then the third amazing part. God speaks. You are my Son. The Beloved.

All three aspects – all three persons – God in God’s fulness amongst the people.

When we baptize children, young people or adults, I am always struck by this moment. God comes down. God is with us. In this season of Epiphany we are reminded again and again – that we are living in a time of the manifestation of Christ to the nations. May you show God to all those who see you now. Show God in your life, in your actions, and in your personal repentance. You are my Son. The beloved.

See you in church, tomorrow, Sunday January 13, 2019 at Holy Cross Lutheran, in Salem, Oregon. We worship at 9:30 am at 1998 Lansing Ave NE, Salem, OR 97301.  Shalom.- Pastor P+

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

15As the people were filled with expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Messiah, 16John answered all of them by saying, “I baptize you with water; but one who is more powerful than I is coming; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”5. ravenna baptistery