Posted by Paul Edwards (Fr. Paul) on Dec 29, 2011 | Comments (0)

Epiphany I, Mark 1:4-11 "The Spirit descended upon Him".

Today could be called "Baptism Sunday". It is a time in the church when many, from adults to babies, are baptized into the community of Christians. There are some Churches that believe in total immersion and not in infant baptism. A friend of mine was asked if he believed in infant baptism. "Believe it", he responded, "I have SEEN it!" Infant baptism is one of the greatest witnesses to grace. It does not depend on how much water is poured on a baby or how much they know. Once they are baptized they are Christians.

When people become Christians, many times they move on in their life from the baptism event. Rarely is it ever celebrated as we celebrate other significant times in our life like birthdays, anniversaries or even times of sobriety.

One of the problems with baptism is people may not know its meaning. If you ask someone what is the meaning of baptism, at best they may give you one right out of the Prayer Book. Ask your self: "What did Jesus believe baptism was?" We would have to search the Scriptures for that answer.

First of all, Jesus received the baptism of John. In addition, the Holy Spirit came on Him. Two separate acts.

John 4:2 tells how the Apostles baptized but Jesus never baptized anyone. In John 7:36, Jesus preached "If anyone thirsts let them come to me and drink. They who believe in me, living waters will flow from their heart." This He spoke of the Holy Spirit which had not yet been given.

After His death and resurrection, He told the Apostles, "You shall receive power after the Holy Sprit is given to you." Acts 1:8 After that, when the Apostles baptized, they expected the Holy Spirit would be poured out as well as the water. Acts 8:14

At baptism, we all receive the Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:18 In the Great Commission, Jesus tells the Apostles to "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them all things." The guideline here, is in baptism to receive the Presence of the Holy Spirit and then to teach them about the experience. The Church tends to want to teach them first and then have them receive the Spirit.

Jesus concludes "Lo I am with you always and forever,"

We receive the Holy Spirit at baptism. The Holy Spirit is unconditionally in all of us. But we are not always in the Spirit. In difficult times, we need to open our hearts to this Spirit. We discover the difference the Spirit's Power, Love and Wisdom makes in our life. Every time we do this, we are celebrating our baptism. When was the last time you celebrated your baptism?

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