It is time to go back in time. We left Jesus on the shore of the Sea of Galilee eating breakfast with his disciples in post resurrection form. But today we go back three years to another body of water. This time it is the Jordan River and we find a man named John standing in the water with a word of testimony. “Are you the Messiah?” “No” “Are you Elijah?” “No” “Are you the prophet?” “No, I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” It was John the Baptist at the Jordan. The very next day John would experience the ultimate highlight of his life…he would baptize Jesus, the Lamb of God. It was a moment that marked one of the final steps in the advent (the coming) of Christ. It was the moment when the ministry of Jesus really began to unfold. It was a beautiful moment that we recreate time and time again as individuals present themselves for baptism as a way of saying this is a fresh start. It is the beginning of something beautiful. Tomorrow night, we will gather to praise the Lord and proclaim our faith. We will sing Silent Night and hold high the light of Christ as we honor his holy name. It is indeed the name that is above all other names. It is the Lord God Almighty, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. In the beginning the Lord of Life was present for creation. Ultimately the same Lord came in human form as an infant. He was small, dependent, hungry, and sometimes cold. But he grew to be a man, was baptized by John, gathered his disciples, taught the will of God, and changed the world. We all know that our world has a long way to go. But today, I am not as concerned about the world as I am about you and your heart. Do you know the Lord of Life? Do you know the power of serving through the authority of your baptism? Do you know that God so loved your heart that he sent his one and only Son, that those who believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life? It is true. And it all started in the manger of Bethlehem. In the beginning…
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’* 21And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ 22Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23 He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord” ’, as the prophet Isaiah said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah,* nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ 26John answered them, ‘I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.