Satan’s gifts are easy to master. They come with first grade instruction manuals. They are made to be mastered quickly and enjoyed rapidly (sex, drugs, alcohol; various temptations). God’s gifts are a little harder to master. They demand self-control and patience. They demand spiritual growth; they demand kingly attitude to grasp kingly wisdom. God’s instructions means you have to seek others in the community to understand them properly.
In the Psalm we are reciting this morning we will hear a lot about the voice of Yahweh. Psalm 29 says some spectacular things about what the voice of Yahweh accomplishes. It literally transforms the landscape of the desert, makes animals rejoice, and makes us cry out His glory.
The words of God change the world. When he speaks the world respond. We will consider Luke’s account this morning of the baptism of Jesus and we hear those precious words uttered in the the baptism of Jesus from God the Father: “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!” The words of Yahweh are repeated also in our baptisms. In baptism God is affirming his love for his sons and daughters and marking them with His name. We are recipients of the blessings of the voice of Yahweh over us.
But also we hear the voice of Yahweh in this worship service. He invites us with the call to worship and He dismisses us with His benediction. The voice of Yahweh changes our lives. The Psalmist concludes:
Yahweh gives strength to his people;
Yahweh blesses his people with peace.
And this is the purpose of Yahweh’s words: to give us all His peace. Let us then be changed as we hear His voice.
Prayer: May We reply to the voice of Yahweh with these words:
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might
and honor and glory and blessing!”
Receive our praise, O Gracious King Jesus Christ, for in your name we pray. Amen.
The problem with taking this baptism as something erroneous occurring in Corinth is that Paul does not express any form of grave or minuscule disapproval of the practice. Daniel Hoffman pointed me to an interpretation that sees baptism happening as a result of the Christian martyrs who gave their lives for the resurrection hope. In turn, this led to the conversion of many who entered the church through the waters of baptism, so that they too could taste of this resurrection hope.
The Resurrection of Jesus created this newly gathered body, called the Church. Of course, the Church has existed since the Garden, but never has the Church possessed such glory, such overflowing joy, and such unity than when she was bathed in the Resurrection waters. The Old Church needed a thorough cleansing, and from the empty tomb flowed these rivers of life that begins this washing and cleansing of Christ’s Bride. Christ was raised for the sake of His Bride and World.
This meal is a continual celebration of the empty tomb. This is why this is a table of joy. The last Supper is now replaced with a new Supper each time we meet. And because this is a new meal it never becomes bitter to our taste. His mercies are new each time we gather as Resurrected people.Come and eat.
In Acts 2, 3,000 people are baptized. This takes us back to the Exodus narrative when Moses received the two tablets of the Law and the people committed idolatry in the sight of God. Moses destroyed their idolatrous idols and scattered it on the water and made the people to drink. On that day 3,000 people were killed. But on Pentecost there is a reversal. The Spirit is poured out on the people and 3,000 are baptized. In one scene, the waters represent death and idolatry, and on Pentecost, the waters represent life and loyalty to God.