Sermon Starters

Support and Resources For Pastors and
Christian Ministry Professionals

Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Second Sunday After The Epiphany/
Baptism Of Our Lord


Option #1: "Jesus' Baptism: What Does This Mean?"
Matthew 3:13-17

Rev. Wayne Dobratz, B.A., M.Div.

I. It was Jesus’ inauguration

    A. As our Prophet--John 5:37-40

    B. As our High Priest--John 12:27-33

    C. As our King--Isa 42:1-4

II. What does it mean for His disciples?

    A. He was carrying our sins, so He was baptized for us--Isa 53:4-5

    B. To be "in Christ" means to be forgiven--Rom 6:3-4, 23; 8:1; Gal 3:26-27

    C. The Spirit is upon Him and comes from Him--John 1:31-34, 14:26-27, 15:26

    D. He gives the Spirit to those who are baptized--John 3:5-8, 16:13, Rom 8:2

    E. He has the Father’s seal of approval--Zech 4:6; text, v17; Matt 17:5; Heb 7:26ff

Richard Lenski explains v15 re: It is proper for us fulfill all righteousness: "It was not Law but Gospel, not a demand to obey but a gift of grace to be received and accepted as such... Jesus is choosing Baptism by John as the right way to enter upon his great office, and he is doing this with a fine sense of propriety. He, the sinless One, the very Son of God, chooses to put himself alongside of all the sinful ones for whom this Sacrament was ordained. By thus joining himself to all these instances of John’s Baptism he signifies that he is now ready take upon himself the load of all sinners--to assume his redemptive office...  This office had to be assumed voluntarily. Shortly after his Baptism, John calls Jesus the Lamb of God, referring directly to the sacrifice. Jesus himself calls his suffering a Baptism.

Martin Luther: (In His Baptism) Christ... was entering into our stead, indeed, our person, that is, becoming a sinner for us, taking upon himself the sins which he had not committed and wiping them out and drowning them in his holy baptism. And that he did this in accord with the will of God, the heavenly Father, who cast all our sins upon him that he might bear them and not only cleanse us from them through his baptism and make satisfaction for them on the Cross, but also clothe as in his holiness and adorn us with his innocence. Is not this a beautiful, glorious exchange, by which Christ, who is wholly innocent and holy, not only takes upon himself another’s sin, that is, my sin and guilt, but also clothes and adorns me, who am nothing but sin, with his own innocence and purity? And then besides dies the shameful death of the Cross for the sake of my sins, through which I have deserved death and condemnation, and grants to me his righteousness in order that I may live with him eternally in glorious and unspeakable joy. Through this blessed exchange, in which Christ changes places with us (something the heart can grasp only in faith), and through nothing else, are we freed from sin and death and given his righteousness and life as our own. [At the Baptism of Bernard von Anhalt, 1540, LW Vol 51]

+   +   +


Object: a picture of child’s Baptism

I’m guessing that you have some of these in your house somewhere. The baby is wearing a white gown, mom and dad are smiling on the pictur,e and so are two or three other people who are close relatives or friends of the baby’s mom or dad.

Can you guess what’s happening here in this picture? That’s right--it’s a Baptism. Some of you are in my Confirmation class, and you recall that whenever we recite parts of Luther’s Catechism, we ask this question: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? That’s what I want to know from you today. Imagine that the baby being baptized is YOU! What does this mean?

It means that you were baptized into Christ. It means that Jesus took your sins upon himself the day He was baptized. Three years before He went to the cross, He was already carrying our sins. That’s why they call Him the Lamb of God. He took our sins away when He died on the cross.

What does this mean? It means that whenever you sin, you go back to the agreement that God made with you on the day YOU were baptized. It means that you can be sure that your sins are forgiven because God never breaks the agreement He has with us.

What does this mean? It means that you belong to Jesus and that no one can take you out of God’s hand. You can jump out of God’s hand, but that wouldn’t be a good idea. You made an agreement with God, too, on the day you were baptized. You promised even before you could speak that you would always be God’s child.

Wow! Baptism means a lot, and I’ll tell you more after we finish singing this beautiful song about Baptism. Always remember this: Jesus loves you and made you His own in your Baptism. Now doesn't that make you want stay with Him for as long you live?

+   +   +

Option #2: "God's Post-Christmas And Eternal Exchange Policy"
Matthew 3:13-17
Rev. Kelly Bedard, B.A., M.Div.

The Point: God exchanges our sin for His Son!
The Problem: false, though warranted, humility
The Promise: God will always be well-pleased with us because of our forgiveness wrought through Jesus death and resurrection and the good done through Him and us by the power of the Holy Spirit.
1. Why did Jesus need to be baptized? The words it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness implies that it was a necessity in the plan of God, but why? The purpose was for Jesus to completely identify Himself with sinful man; even as He did in His birth, His upbringing, and His death--here is Jesus again standing in the place of sinful man. (David Guzik)
2.Christ's gracious condescensions are so surprising that even the strongest believers at first can hardly believe them; so deep and mysterious, that even those who know his mind well, are apt to start objections against the will of Christ. (Matthew Henry)
3. Early on in the well-known movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy found herself far from home--somewhere over the rainbow?--and longing to get back to the Kansas farm. The great and powerful Wizard of Oz surely had the answer, she was assured, but he was in the Emerald City. How to get there? Why, follow the yellow brick road! So in the movie, as many will remember, she started down that path, not by jumping on as the road went by, but by going to the start. It is always best to begin at the beginning, she was told, and so she went to the beginning, with her toes on the very first brick, and then she took her first step. No skipping steps, no deviating from the path no matter what might come.
That's a story. Matthew 3 is salvation history--events with God's promises attached--but there is a similarity. The advice is still good: it is best to begin at the beginning. Jesus certainly did that. No skipping steps. No need for John's baptism of repentance for himself, but if he is to side with us, he has to begin with us--and so he does, there in line waiting for John. And once on the path, he was not to be dissuaded [until] all righteousness was fulfilled and it was finished and it was ours. (Robert Rosin)
2004 Ministry Health, LLC; All Rights Reserved


Ministry Health Sermon Starters
Copyright 2004 Ministry Health
All Rights Reserved

Go to Main Page

Main Site:

Copyright 1997-2005 Ministry Health, LLC  All Rights Reserved.

Microsoft FrontPage and Microsoft Internet Explorer are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation
Adobe Acrobat and PDF are registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated

Contact Support for any technical issues with this website!

This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:34 PM