The season of Epiphany is focused on the revealing of Jesus to the world. When he comes on Christmas he comes for the children of Israel, but when we celebrate Epiphany we celebrate his appearance to the whole world. The season begins with the coming of the Magi. These were foreigners who would not have known the King of the Jews, but here they are worshiping him.
The second Sunday of the Epiphany season is the Baptism of our Lord. The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He is publicly appearing as the Christ – the christened/anointed one – who has been marked as our great prophet, priest and king. He has come to announce the coming of the kingdom of God, to make the sacrifice for our sin, and to be the king who defeats our enemy, Satan. In his baptism, as we pray in the baptismal liturgy, he “sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed blood and a lavish washing away of sin.” (LSB, 269)
On the second Sunday of October we will install a piece of art behind our baptismal font depicting the baptism of our Lord by John the Baptist. The piece of art is a relief carved for us by artist in the Ukraine out of a solid piece of beech wood.
At the bottom of the icon of Jesus’ baptism is the Greek word, . The word is pronounced, epithaneia and in can be translated, appearing. Jesus is appearing in his baptism to the world. Jesus is appearing with the Holy Trinity as the Holy Spirit descended upon him and the Father spoke, “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is appearing for you.
His appearing is to save you from the captivity of Satan and the burden of our sin. He is appearing for his cross. He is appearing to carry your sin and my sin upon himself to that cross to suffer the punishment for our sin. He is appearing to die in our place. He is appearing at the open and empty grave to show you and me the way of eternal life.
He appears for you as he is joined to the water of baptism washing us of sin and giving us saving faith. He is appearing for you in the word of forgiveness found in the absolution. He is appearing for you in the body and blood of the sacrament of the altar. He is appearing for you in the word of life spoken and read from Scripture.
. Jesus is appearing for the world in his baptism and he is appearing for you today in his Word and sacraments. As we install this icon of the Baptism of our Lord we remember that Christ Jesus is here for you.