Ep. 45: Baptismarrific or Baptism of Christ A


For Sunday January 12, 2014, Baptism of Christ A and First Sunday After Epiphany A.

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SHOW NOTES -  1/12/2014

Opening Music: I Saw the Light by Hank Williams

For Sunday, January 12, 2014

Episode 45

Welcome to the Pulpit Fiction Podcast, where two local pastors discuss the lectionary reading for the week. We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun till dine; But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne. This is episode 45 for Sunday January 12, the Baptism of Jesus. We will be discussing:


Primary Scripture - Matthew 3:13-17- Baptism of Jesus
The Arian Baptistry in Ravena, Italy c. 500- see above picture

  • Exegetical Notes
    •  Ancient Church and modern church ask two different questions of the text.
      • Ancient Church - Why did John baptize Jesus? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
        • Evidence of this discomfort is found in the progression that takes place within the Gospels.
          • In Mark, the earliest Gospel, there is no objection from John, though he does proclaim that Jesus is greater. “About that time, Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River” (Mark 1:9)
          • In Luke, there is no direct mention of the fact that John baptized Jesus.  It just says “When everyone was being baptized, Jesus also was baptized” (Luke 3:21)
          • In Matthew, there is this direct conversation and objection from John, but Jesus alieves his fears. (Matthew 3:14)
          • In John, the latest Gospel, Jesus is not baptized.  John just sees Jesus coming, and testifies that he, “saw the Spirit coming down like a dove, and it rested on him” (John 1:32)
        • In Matthew, Jesus says the answer to the question is basically, “Because I said so.”
        • Jesus, the Messiah, is beginning his ministry with an act of submission.  This tells us about the type of Messiah Jesus is going to be, i.e. “The first will become last.”
      • Modern Church - Why is Jesus getting baptized at all?
        • If Jesus is clean and sinless, why is there a need for baptism?
          • Was this a grand awakening for Jesus? Coming into a self-awareness of his Messiah-ship?
          • Was it an act of solidarity with his soon-to-be followers?
        • "The primary point of baptism is not so much that it does something to the individual, but that it defines the community."  -N.T. Wright
          • Infant baptism (UMC Tradition)
          • No Re-Baptism
        • “Baptism is not a simply a mechanism for forgiveness but rather announces God’s favor and establishes Jesus’ identity.” David Lose
        • Baptism is dying, and re-emerging into new life.
  • Sermon Thoughts and Questions:
    • Who sees the Holy Spirit?  Who hears the voice?
    • What happens when someone is baptized?
      • Do we believe that the Holy Spirit rests upon the one baptized.  Do we hear the voice of God claiming “This is my beloved?”
      • What does it mean to be claimed by God?
    • How can we remember our baptism, even if we cannot remember our baptism?
      • Remember the claim that is on us.
      • Remember the power of the Holy Spirit
      • Instead of focusing on our sinfulness and need to be cleansed, can we reclaim our worthy-ness from being claimed by God.
    • In worship, how do you use the water?
      • When baptizing, allow the water to be seen and heard.
      • Ceremonies of Baptism renewal, making the sign of the cross with water on people’s heads.
      • Putting baptismal font in prominent place, or near the doors of sanctuary
    • Last Temptation of Christ Baptism of Jesus

Transition Music: Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum

Secondary scripture - Acts 10:34-43 - Witnessing to Jesus as Christ

  • Traditional reading for Easter and the Baptism of Jesus (in the Roman and Episcopal Lectionaries)
  • Peter’s Elevator Witness
  • Used to describe what Baptism and Christian faith are about
    • Fear of God - i.e. faith
    • Doing right - i.e. works
  • Universal
    • Must be understood within context
      • Peter just had a vision that abolished the food laws of clean and unclean
      • Cornelius has a vision to summon Peter
      • Peter goes and preaches to and among gentiles
      • “What God has made clean, you must not call unclean” - this is basis of God’s impartiality
    • The Good News is for everyone
    • There are no cultural or ethnic requirements
    • God calls all people through Jesus Christ
  • Alan Gregory - Poetic rhythm of the story
    • You must fear God and do right
      • Jesus preaches peace to all people
    • Healing and freedom from oppression - death
    • death is met is resurrection
    • Resurrection by judgement
    • Judgement with forgiveness
    • And we return to the impartiality of God
      • God is not partial to you or to your enemy- God is partial to reconciliation and forgiveness
  • How do we determine what is of Christ and what isn’t?
    • doing good
    • healing the oppressed
    • forgiveness
  • Sermon Thoughts and Questions:
    • This is Peter’s 30 sec elevator witness - what is yours?
    • If God is impartial to Israel or the Jews, then isn’t God also impartial to the church? What does this mean for the church and our mission?
    • If God’s primary focus is forgiveness and reconciliation- How is the church living into this mission? How are each of us?
    • What cultural barriers stand in our way of participating in God’s mission? (just as not associating with Gentiles stood in Peter’s way)
  • Freakonomics: Pontiff-icating on the Free-Market System: A New Freakonomics Radio Podcast

Transition Music: Witness by Daughtry

Closing -
TY: listeners
Opening Music: I Saw the Light by Hank Williams
Transition Music: Spirit in the Sky by Norman Greenbaum
Transition Music: Witness by Daughtry
Theme Music: Dick Dale and the Deltones “Misirlou”
Closing music, “Oh No” by Paul & Storm

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Shout outs:  

  • A.F. Sampson- commented on medicinal uses of Frankincense and myrrh
  • David - just found us- thanks!
  • Marie Mainard O’Connell commented on The Fat Pastor blog, “I love [the Pulpit Fiction podcast], and now consider it part of my regimen to get ready to write a sermon.”

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