The First Sunday after Epiphany: The Baptism of our Lord January 9th, 2011

“INTRODUCING...THE CHOSEN ONE”
When was the last time that you introduced someone to one of your family members or friends? Did you use the established norm of etiquette for proper introduction? For instance, it’s not okay to introduce someone with grunts and pointed fingers: “Hey...this guy here...Mike.” That’s not proper! Proper introductions follow a specific four-fold pattern. Name, occupation, character trait, and why this person needs to be known by the other. Think of Jesus’ baptism as the day of his formal introduction to the world as its Christ! The one who was revealed in the prophets of old is brought to light for the world to see at the Jordan River. Today, we also have the opportunity to be introduced to the Chosen One, Jesus, and as proper etiquette would dictate, the Holy Spirit introduces Jesus’ work, his character and why it is important that we know who he is and what he does – for this chosen one revealed in Isaiah is none other than the Christ whose baptism in the Jordan River formally began his work of being the world’s sin bearer. Isaiah 42:1-7

one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.”

This is the one who serves to bring to the whole world justice, a favorable legal decision. That’s quite a task, isn’t it? Because the mound of evidence that stands against us is monumental – exhibit after exhibit of our guilt laid out so clearly before the judge in the commandments, and nothing escapes his notice. He sees them all! He sees every Sunday morning that we choose to sleep rather than worship. Exhibit A. He sees what we do behind closed doors. Exhibit B. He sees what wretched thoughts go through our minds. Exhibit C. He hears every word that comes flying out of our mouths. Exhibit D...on and on go the indictments with no end. He sees and knows every moment in time, every moment in life when we elevate ourselves as divine and bring him down to nothing. Nothing escapes his all-seeing eye. The evidence is clear. We are a “no win” client. I don’t know any lawyers that willingly take on “no win” clients. Usually those are court appointed. If you were to call 1-800-CALL-SAM, and your case had no chance of victory, they wouldn’t take it. They wouldn’t waste their time, even if they have a “no fee guarantee.” They only want big, winnable, collectible cases that they can bank on, because taking on a “no win” case voluntarily is simply a waste of valuable time. Look at your own rap sheet! Our cases are sure-fire convictions. The evidence is mounted against us. It’s overwhelming and clear as day, deserving of the swiftest and most terrible punishment. But, in steps the Chosen One. To our rescue comes the appointed delight of the LORD upon whom the LORD has placed his Spirit. He doesn’t assume this work begrudgingly. He doesn’t spend his time and effort looking upon you and the whole world in disgust. No. He simply goes to work for us, because the chosen One, announced here in Isaiah and revealed publicly to the world at the Jordan River... 4 will not falter or

I.

Here’s the prophetic introduction of the Christ: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen

He is a justice administrator

be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth.”

In other words, he didn’t stop until he received for you that precious and most needed acquittal. Not once did Jesus fail you in his work for you. Not once did he place his own needs before yours. Not once did he place his comfort before yours. He knew that his work would take him to certain death. He knew that his calling as the Anointed One would lead him to incredible physical torment and indescribable spiritual hell, but off he went without hesitation to the cross that was ordained for his atoning sacrifice. Off he went stepping in our place as the accused and accursed that we, by his wounds, would be acquitted of all sin and guilt. Now that we know his occupation, it’s proper, according to introduction etiquette to learn about his character a bit, which is directly connected to his work, because his character is made evident in his work. The prophet says of the coming Christ: “2 He will not shout or cry out, or raise his voice in the II. He has a pastoral meekness

streets. 3 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice;”

Here, the prophet reveals the style in which the Chosen One will bring about this acquittal for us. He’s not going to do it by force, but by being a meek servant with a pastoral heart for sinners, one whose care is so complete and so gentle that the weakest, most pitiful and pitiable of souls, the bruised reeds, the smoldering wicks, those who are so vulnerable to the attacks of the adversary, all find perfect and consistent care in the loving arms of this meek, mild, gentle pastor of pastors. He has a pastoral meekness. That’s his character, even in his administration of justice. Usually in the bringing of justice there is an exertion of extreme force. Abraham in rescuing Lot from the four kings in Genesis 14 used force. When the Israelites lost control at the foot of Mt. Sinai and were dancing around the golden calf, Moses exerted force by sending the Levites through the camp with swords drawn to restore order. But what the world received in its Christ is not an ostentatious figure who enters the world in great pomp and circumstance ready to force obedience and loyalty under the sword. No. What we received in our Christ is a faithful, meek shepherd who carried on his heart every single one of you and carried on his soul every one of your sins. When he was silent before the Sanhedrin on the night he was betrayed, he had you on his heart. When he kept his tongue as the soldiers were nailing him to the tree, he had your eternal destiny in mind. He entered the world not to force service by the sword, but to serve others by enduring the cross. Jesus himself said in Matthew 20: “The Son of Man did not come to be

served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
III. He is the Light of freedom

What a treasure it is that this Chosen One, sent from heaven above, chose not to break us, the bruised reeds, but to hold us dear in his hand; not to snuff us out, we who are smoldering wicks. Instead he assumes weakness, the lowliest of states, the humblest of appearances, even going to the most pitiable and pitiful of deaths, allowing his life to be snuffed out so that we may shine forever in eternal glory.

Here he is: The Chosen One, a justice administrator who has a pastorally meek character. The last part of introduction etiquette is the most important part: Why we need to know this person. The prophet Isaiah lays out for us very clearly why we need to know Jesus and have him in our lives all the time: 6 “I,

the LORD, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make

you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”

John, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” He’s the light that leads sinful people out of captivity, out of exile, out of prison, out of the darkness of unbelief, and without him that’s where we most certainly would remain – in darkness and utter and complete despair with no hope of life or freedom. That’s why we need to know him. That’s why we need to have a relationship with him, because without this Chosen One in our lives, in our hearts, we stand in darkness and in captivity, held prisoner by the charges against us that we cannot escape, and held captive by the awful wages that our crimes against God’s holiness deserve – the death penalty of hell. He is our only hope for freedom! That’s why God introduces his Chosen One to us here in Isaiah, and then formally introduces him to the entire world at the Jordan River. He is the world’s hope for rescue from slavery, “a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles,” who establishes a new covenant and enlightens our hearts with a simple promise – “He who believes in me will live even though he dies, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.” In him, there are no eternal questions unanswered. In him we are not left in the dark about our eternal future. We are free – free to live to his glory now on earth and free to live forever with him in unending light and eternal glory – for “There is no

Jesus is light. He says that of himself in one of the more well-known passages from the gospel of

condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Work, character trait, why we need to this person – that’s proper etiquette when introducing someone. God has proper introduction etiquette, because he has openly given all of that information about his Anointed One, his One and Only Son, Jesus. His work, to gain for us acquittal from our crimes of sin; his character, one of pastoral meekness who cares completely for all precious souls, and his importance, he is our hope for everlasting life. Here he is! The Chosen One. Our hope! Our light! Our life! Amen.

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