The Baptism of Jesus


Message Title: The Baptism of Jesus
Theme: Baptism
Main Text: Matthew 3:13-17
Scripture Reading: Acts 10:34-43
RCL Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-9 Psalm 29 Acts 10:34-43 Matthew 3:13-17
Focus: Jesus is baptized.
To make a decision about our relationship with Jesus.

SCRIPTURE READING: Acts 10:34-43 34 Peter said, “I really am learning that God doesn’t show partiality to one group of people over another. 35 Rather, in every nation, whoever worships him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 This is the message of peace he sent to the Israelites by proclaiming the good news through Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all! 37 You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism John preached. 38 You know about Jesus of Nazareth, whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and endowed with power. Jesus traveled around doing good and healing everyone oppressed by the devil because God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of everything he did, both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him up on the third day and allowed him to be seen, 41 not by everyone but by us. We are witnesses whom God chose beforehand, who ate and drank with him after God raised him from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”


  1. Audience engagement: How do you get into a pool when you go swimming? Are you the kind to dip your toe in first? Or are you the kind that canon balls into the water?
    1. “don’t get my hair wet” – grandmas swimming
    1. Kids practicing baptism with siblings

TRANSITION: We aren’t diving into the deep end but we will discuss getting wet today! The first Sunday in the season of Epiphany we celebrate the baptism of Jesus.

MAIN TEXT: Matthew 3:13-17 13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John would baptize him. 14 John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?” 15 Jesus answered, “Allow me to be baptized now. This is necessary to fulfill all righteousness.” So John agreed to baptize Jesus. 16 When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him. 17 A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”


  1. All Gospels rarely all share the same story. They each have different audiences and goals in mind. Therefore, they structure their gospels and highlight details based on their audience and goals. Occasionally, a story overlaps. These accounts are considered big deals, i.e.: calling disciples, crucifixion, and the empty tomb.
    1. The details are never exactly the same, but the fact that a specific event occurs in each Gospel indicates the significance.
  2. Jesus’ baptism is covered by 3 of the 4 gospel writers. John’s version is a baptism of the Holy Spirit which details overlap with the other three accounts. (Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34) Bottom Line: This story was significant.
    1. All:
      1. dove rep Holy Spirit
      1. Voice saying this is God’s son – who heard it was different
    1. ¾:
      1. include Water
      1. God is happy with Jesus
      1. Followed by temptation in the wilderness
    1. John
      1. No baptism, instead he alludes to a baptism of the Holy Spirit.
      1. John’s gospel emphasizes Jesus’ divine-ness. Of course, he wouldn’t have Jesus subject to human practices like baptism.


  1. My baptism story- in a pond, 10 or 11. Scared of the fishes
    1. I went through a season of time where I didn’t feel secure about my baptism. I felt like I was too young and didn’t know what it meant. I even was hesitant to baptize young kids for this same reason.
    1. But baptisms aren’t for when it’s all figured out. They aren’t a period at the end of your faith. They are a capitol B at the beginning of your faith.  “I have decided to follow Jesus.”
  2. Scripture Reading: The Apostle Peter realized this in Acts 10 (keep reading 44-48). He was in a group of Christians that believed you had to convert to Judaism before you could follow Christ. After all, Jesus was the Jewish Messiah. Then The Holy Spirit fell on a group of Gentiles and Peter had to admit that he was holding back the Gospel.
    1. God was not showing partiality, Peter was.
    1. God was not putting requirements on baptism, Peter was.

APPLICATION: To make a decision about our relationship with Jesus.

  1. It’s the New Year. Time to make a fresh start and set goals for your year. This is the perfect time to reflect on your faith and where you want to grow.
    1. Start a new spiritual discipline- prayer, bible study, worship time, fasting, etc (I have a great book of ideas if you’re looking for something new)
    1. Attend Bible Study
    1. Attend Sunday School
    1. Get Baptized or Remember your baptism
    1. Commit to faith practices for your family through Child/Family Dedication
  2. Stances & Definitions of Baptism- let’s do a little crash course on baptism together
    1. Traditional Baptist Belief: “For the one who experiences it, baptism should indicate an acceptance of Christ, a desire to be united in Spirit and in fellowship with Christ, and should function as a sign of discipleship in the times to come.” (The New Hiscox Guide for Baptist Churches)
    1. For Baptists, baptism is a symbolic gesture you make to express your commitment to believing in Jesus and walking in your faith with a group of people (ideally the ones witnessing your baptism).
      1. Baptist can be sticklers about this – My ordination story-
        1. Baptists practice believer’s baptism by immersion most frequently, however we know it is not the mode that saves us. I will practice the mode of immersion unless through the process of pastoral care it is determined that the believer requires a different mode. I refer to the writings in the Didache, which are attributed by the early church to the Apostles. In Didache 7:1-5 it states: “But concerning baptism, thus shall ye baptize. Having first recited all these things, baptize {in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit} in living (running) water. But if thou hast not living water, then baptize in other water; and if thou art not able in cold, then in warm. But if thou hast neither, then pour water on the head thrice in the name of the Father and of the Son and
  3. Interested in being baptized?
    1. Baptism Workshops
      1. Feb 26th  during Sunday School
      1. March 12 after church
    1. Baptism – April 9th  (Easter Sunday)

CONCLUSION: The beauty of Jesus’ baptism? That he opened the waters for the rest of us. We enter those same waters with Christ at our baptism. God didn’t change the plans to include us. Just as God intended Gentiles to receive the Holy Spirit, God intends us to be part of the family.

Back to Intro: we won’t remember what you looked like w/ your hair wet. We will remember your confession to follow Jesus. Don’t be afraid to dip your toe in the waters of baptism.



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