The Baptism of our Lord, (January 11, 2015)
Holy Cross Lutheran Church
Rev. Todd A. Peperkorn
(Mark 1:4-11; Genesis 1:1-5)
TITLE: “From Creation to New Creation”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for today is the Gospel just read from St. Mark chapter one.
In the beginning the earth was without form and void. “Tohu wa vohu” is how it sounds in Hebrew. Chaos. Nothingness. A mess and more than a mess. But this is not the kind of chaos that you have with genius. No, this is truly chaos. No order at all. We might even call it lawlessness.
And into that void, that darkness of nothingness comes the Word of God. “Let there be light,” God said. And His Word does what it says, and light is born. God creates order out of chaos, and from that order comes the world with all its beauty, its wonder and glory, where all of God’s creativeness and power is used for beauty and love and truth. And the crown of God’s creation, the pinnacle of all work, is the creation of mankind, Adam and Eve.
It is on Adam and Eve that God lavishes His love. One church Father said that God created us in order to have someone to love. From light to the world to Adam and Eve, God creates in order to love you. for that is who He is.
But into that world, that perfection of beauty and light, into that world comes darkness. The darkness of sin and distress. The darkness which hides all of God’s good creation. The darkness tries oh so hard to bring back the chaos, the nothinging which is life without the God of love.
And make no mistake, beloved, you love the darkness and chaos. You love to hide in your sins and revel in the confusion. We are all kind of spiritual lemmings in a way. We know that sin and chaos is evil, we know that it is bad and wrong, but somehow, we can’t stop. Not on our own. The light of truth is too bright for our sinful flesh. The light of truth kills that old, sinful nature, the nature that wants to hide from God and from each other.
But maybe in this case a little death is a good thing. In order for you to be saved, something has to change. You cannot continue in your old ways, way that leads to death. And so God enters into our world, the world He created and that we have tried oh so hard to destry. He enters into our world as one of us.
But St. Mark really highlights for us that God’s entry into the world is not a quiet, peaceful affair. At our Lord’s Baptism, Mark tells us that Jesus saw **“the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.””** (Mark 1:10–11 ESV)
So it is that God enters into your darkness. He tears away the shroud of death and chaos, and gives you something new. He baptizes you, washes away your sins, and like that, your life is very different.
It is very easy for us to view God’s coming into our world as a quiet, peaceful even, with angels singing and harps playing quietly in the background. But for Mark, He recognizes that Jesus did not come to leave things as they were. No, rather He comes to rescue you from sin, death and the power of the devil. And rescue work, beloved, is messy business.
But God comes into the messy business of your life. If he created the world out of the darkness and the void, don’t you think He can enter into your world and save you? He can, and He has. Every day our Lord comes to you again and again. He binds Himself to you, washes you, feeds you and gives you Himself in His sacred meal.
This washing and this meal are for you order in the midst of chaos. You are clean and whole in Him. You are at peace in Him, because He went to war for you. He loses His life so that you might win life eternal.
So it is that God calls you today by the power of His Holy Spirit.
Believe it for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
And now the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in true faith to life everlasting. Amen.