Sermon - January 8, 2023 - St. Martin's In the Desert

Sermon – January 8, 2023

First Sunday after the Epiphany-The Baptism of our Lord
Year A
January 8, 2022

First Reading: Isaiah 42:1-91
Psalm 29
Second Reading: Acts 10:34-43
Gospel: Matthew 3: 13-17


Father in Heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan proclaimed him your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

“Let It Be So Now”

Epiphany Sunday is the Sunday between Jan 2 and Jan. 8, on which the Christian church celebrates the Feast of Epiphany. It recognizes the revelation of Jesus Christ to the entire world as represented by the coming of the magi to worship the Christ child.

Epiphany is the season of growing light, the season of the Magi and the revelation of Christ to all the nations, and the celebration of Christ’s baptism.

Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus traveled about 40 miles from Galilee to the River Jordan where his cousin, John the Baptist is and Jesus will join the crowd of followers and be baptized. 

John says “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me? Yes, Jesus wants John to baptize him.

Why did Jesus need to be baptized? He had not sinned, he had no sin to repent, but he had come to earth to die on behalf of the sins of humanity.

Jesus being baptized was showing his solidarity with his community, and his willingness to be counted by all these other people of God. 

The Gospel tells us, by doing this, Jesus was fulfilling all righteousness. He was made like us in all things, sin only except for which he was clearly void, both in his flesh and in his spirit.

Baptism is initiation and the forgiveness of sins it is only part of the grace of baptism. The outward sign of Baptism signifies an inward cleansing of the soul, and the appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

More importantly, Baptism is the sacrament by which God adopts us as children and makes us members of Christ’s body, the Church, and inheritors of the kingdom of God. (BCP 858)

In baptism, sins are forgiven and the baptized person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit. Sin is so deeply entrenched in human life that we cannot so easily be rid of it. So, what happens after you are baptized? We believe that you are baptized once but were called again and again to repent and ask forgiveness. 

“Just as Jesus 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.” And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”

The dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and a sign of peace. God is well pleased with Jesus and so he was baptized and anointed with the power of the spirit.

He and John were showing the crowds, and sharing a common message calling for the cleansing of public life, urging their followers to live a life worthy of the kingdom of God. 


Today we remember that as baptized Christians we are showing the world that we are united with Jesus Christ and John the Baptist, we have a new life in Christ. It entails the whole of the Christian life, beginning with the denial of self, the willingness to deny oneself, “take up the cross and follow Christ. 

Jesus came into the world for all people, it sounds pretty fitting to me. God manifests himself through his son Jesus Christ, he comes here not as a King, but as one of us. And, His Kingdom is not of this world, but of the spiritual world. 

The Good news:

On this First Sunday in Epiphany, where Christians celebrate the revelation of God incarnate as Jesus Christ.

There can be no life as we know it without water and Christians see the waters of baptism, as the spreadsheet of our new life in Christ.

The Dove functions is several biblical stories as a symbol of the presence of God’s Holy Spirit.

We are reminded that He brings us Hope, Joy, Love, and the promise of our Salvation.

As we renew our baptismal vows, we are following the way of Jesus Christ by those who are united with him by faith. 

It is our commitment of one’s self to God in Christ and living fully according to Christ’s will for our life.

As I leave you today, a reminder that we are called to follow the bright light of Christ Jesus. 

Jesus said to John “Let it be Now” I say to you today “Let it be Now” 

God is pleased with us and God loves us.

The Rev. Lola Culbreath