“Searching for Sunday: ‘Baptism’”

On Jan. 12, Pastor Jim preaches on Matthew 3:13-17.

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And 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. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

Do you ever wonder why Jesus would need to be baptized? To wash his sins away? To claim him as a child of God? Seems like he already had those boxes checked. John the Baptiser didn’t want to do it, but Jesus insisted it happen as a way “to fulfill all righteousness.” Hmmm.

This Sunday I’m starting a series of sermons inspired by a book written by Rachel Held Evans titled “Searching for Sunday.” It’s a great read if you’re interested.

Rachel sadly passed away in her md-30s this past May, but before she did she authored several books that vividly described her own faith struggles and discouragement with church. In “Searching for Sunday” she describes the power of the various “means of grace,” such as confession, communion, confirmation, healing, marriage, and baptism. For her, these are more than rituals; they are the definers of Christian community, and they were used by God to bring Rachel back to church.

When it comes to “church,” I’ve been around the block and have seen more than a thing or two. Church isn’t always pretty. Sometimes church is messy because the church is made up of human beings like you and me. Having said that, I still believe that church is a good thing.

This Sunday we will begin by thinking together about baptism. What significance does it actually have?

Some say that the baptism of Jesus was his ordination to ministry. What about your baptism?

See you in church on Sunday!