This is Rev. Geoff McKee’s 2nd sermon in the season of Epiphany (13 January 2019), looking at the Baptism of Jesus and its lessons for us, including why the Baptism of Jesus is an act by which he shows his complete identification with us.
You can download a PDF version of the sermon here, if you wish.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 (New International Version)
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptise you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in his hand to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
The Baptism and Genealogy of Jesus
21 When all the people were being baptised, Jesus was baptised too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
I have been fascinated for some time with the story of Jane Haining.
She was the Church of Scotland missionary who perished in Birkenau death camp in 1944.
She is very much the forgotten Scottish hero of the Holocaust.
She began to serve as matron of the girls’ home with the Scottish Mission School in Budapest in 1932. She was holidaying in Cornwall in 1939 when the Second World War broke out, and she immediately returned to Budapest. She refused to return to Scotland, as ordered in 1940, determined to remain with her girls. After the Nazi invasion of Hungary, in March 1944, she again refused to leave.
She was arrested in April 1944 and detained by the Gestapo, accused, amongst other things, of working among Jews and listening to the BBC.
And what Jane Haining did that was so remarkable was simply that she wished to identify herself with the Jewish children in her care to the extent that she wished to be treated exactly as they would be treated.
She wished her fate to become inseparably joined to theirs.
And that is what God has done in Christ Jesus.
He has come among us. He has identified with us. He has taken on our flesh and our blood – our experience – our joys and our concerns, our trials and tribulations – so that he might help us, so that we may know that we are not alone; so that we may know that we are loved. [Read more…]