First Sunday after the Epiphany (Series A) – The Baptism of Jesus
January 12th, 2020icon-download-pdf-wp

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
Epistle: Acts 10:34-38
Lesson: Isaiah 42:1-7
Psalm: Psalm 45:7-9

Matthew 3:13-17
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and light- ing on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

CLB Pastors Network – Rev. Omar Gjerness


I. Jesus’ baptism reveals God
2. Jesus’ baptism deals with the sin question
3. Jesus’ baptism reveals grace.

In regard to the first point, this is one of the best Biblical references to the trinity. The father (Voice from heaven) The Holy Spirit (form of a dove) and the Son, Jesus. I would stress the evidences for the trinity, and the uniqueness of the sonship of Jesus. Suggest reading C.S. Lewis “Mere Christianity.” Chapter 2 deals with “Only Begotten son.” Lewis says it is so stated in at least one creed. Lewis does not identify them, but it is in the Athanasian and the creed of Chalcedon. “Begotten, not created” In my paperback copy of this book, it starts on page 137 and is in chapter 4. If you want to read in depth on this subject, I suggest the best book on the subject I know, which is “Holy Trinity” by Robert Lathan. But this is heavy reading.

Under the second point, I would spend some time on John’s baptism and the uniqueness of it. From Lange’s volume on Luke, P59 “The distinction between the baptism of John and the subsequent Christian baptism was that the former prepared and separated for the kingdom of God, and the latter admitted within it. On this account baptism by the disciples of Jesus, and even by the Lord Himself, at the commencement of His public ministry (John III:22 IV:2) can be regarded only as a continuation of the preparatory baptism of John… He who remains the disciple of John without coming to Christ, endures hunger without obtaining food: He who will go to Christ without having been spiritually a learner in the method of John, finds food, without having any appetite for it.” Present baptism begins at the time of the ascension.

I think I would spend some time on the nature of John’s call for repentance, and the reaction of the religious leadership to it, And then John’s reaction to Jesus’ baptism.

The important issue is: If John’s baptism is a baptism unto repentance,what does Jesus have to repent of? Stress John’s bewilderment over this issue. And this leads to the 3rd part of my outline.

The baptism of Jesus begins his public ministry. At this time he is identifying Himself with my sin. As Jesus identifies Himself with me in a baptism unto repentance, I also identify myself with him in Christian baptism. Stress the vicarious nature of the baptism of Jesus.

The Lord bless you as you prepare.


Sermon Studies on the Gospels – Series A

“At Jordan’s bank Jesus willfully entered the public phase of his ministry, a phase in which he would passively allow his life to be taken as a sacrificial atonement. Hence John the Baptist’s cry of prophecy when Jesus came to meet him at the Jordan, ‘Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’ Here was a prophetic finger which pointed the way to the cross.”

Balge, R.D., Sermon Studies on the Gospels – Series A. Milwaukee, WI: Northwest- ern Publishing House, 1984.


Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel

“Here at the Jordan we have one of the clearest and completest revelations of the Trinity: the Father speaking from heaven – the Son standing incarnate at the Jordan – the Spirit as a dove descending out of heaven. Yet here, too, we have this revelation only in a limited degree, only in so far as these three divine Persons are engaged in our redemption and salvation. The deeper mysteries of the Holy Trinity remain hidden from us. God, as it were, is compelled to reveal so much in order that we may know how our salvation is wrought. Even so much of the Trinity is beyond mortal comprehension. Its revelation has only the one purpose indicated and was never intended to answer the curious questions which rationalistic intellects (not hearts) may raise. The church has called this the economic Trinity, the revelation concerned with the economy of our salvation.”

Lenski, C.H., Interpretation of Saint Matthew’s Gospel. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1943.


The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

“The Spirit’s descent in v.16 needs to be understood in the light of v.17. The Spirit is poured out on the servant in Isaiah 42:1-4, to which v.17 alludes. This outpouring does not change Jesus’ status (he was the Son before this) or assign him new rights. Rather it identifies him as the Promised Servant and Son and marks the beginning of his public ministry and direct confrontation with Satan (Matthew 4:1), the dawn- ing of the Messianic Age (Matthew 12:28).”

Carson, D.A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: With The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1995.

Second Sunday after the Epiphany
Second Sunday after Christmas