Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church
Worship Focus for January 12
Rev. Hardy H. Kim, preaching

We often talk about being a faith family. It’s a comforting way to think of ourselves and our connection to one another. It leads us to value and care for one another in very important ways.

We should also remember that our connection to each other isn’t just direct. We’re family because we are all connected to Jesus. He’s the one that makes us one family—one body. And the way we are connected to him is to share in his baptism.

This Sunday we’re going to be remembering and celebrating Jesus’ baptism. This involves remembering and celebrating our own baptisms, too. As we look at the story of how Jesus was baptized by John, we’ll look to better understand that meaning of that baptism—and also to know what it means for us and our lives. 

Theme for Sunday

“In Jesus Christ, God calls people to faith and to membership in the Church, the body of Christ. Baptism is the visible sign of that call and claim on a human life and of entrance into the membership of the church.”
Book of Order, PC(USA)
Questions for Reflection
  • When and where were you baptized?
  • Did things change for you, once you were baptized? If yes, how so? If not, does that matter?
Matthew 3:1-17

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’” Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”