Sunday LinkUp – 07January2024



WELCOME and THANKS for joining us.



For those of us who follow the Christian Worship Calendar … we are now in the season of Epiphany.

“The season of Epiphany is a season for seeing more of Christ’s glory by focusing on his life and mission.  Simultaneously, it’s a time for making that glory better to known those around us.  We bear witness to what we have seen and learned and experienced.”

Epiphany is a time to recognize “aha” moments in the life of Jesus … It’s a time to pay close attention to what Jesus has done to get an idea of what He is doing.





The theme this week is the manifestation of God’s power.

The selected, supporting passages are … Psalm 29:1-11 • Genesis 1:1-5 • Acts 19:1-7 • Mark 1:4-11

  • In our call to worship psalm, the psalmist affirms God’s power over nature.
  • In Genesis, we witness God’s power in creating the heavens and the earth.
  • In the book of Acts, we see the power of God as the Holy Spirit falls on new believers.
  • And in our pericope in Mark’s gospel, he records the Spirit descending upon Christ at his baptism.



From the TRANSCRIPT … 


As the night sky glistens with the brilliance of countless stars, we are drawn to the story of the magi, following a star to worship the Light of the World.

Matthew 2:1-12 recounts their pilgrimage, their hearts set on finding the source of this celestial light, a light that leads to the very presence of God.

In the midst of simplicity, in the heart of the humblest abode, they find the King of Kings, the one they had traveled so far to worship.

Just as the Magi brought their gifts to the Christ child, we, too, offer the gift of our worship, our adoration, and our devotion.

“As we embark on this journey of Epiphany, let us remember that the Light we seek is not confined to a single location, or a single group of people, but shines forth for all to see and bask in the warmth.

When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.  On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they knelt down and paid him homage.  Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Matthew’s account reminds us that when we seek the Light with open hearts, we, too, will find ourselves in the presence of God.

Today, as we gather in worship, let us offer ourselves to Jesus as the magi did, in awe and reverence before the One who is the true Light of the world.

As we journey through this season of Epiphany, may the Light of Christ continue to lead us, illuminating our path and revealing the boundless love of our Savior.



Why Was Jesus Baptized?     



A.  Today is the first Sunday of the year.  It is also the first Sunday after Epiphany, the season that follows after the Christmas season.

B.  The word “epiphany” means “a moment of sudden and great revelation or  realization”.  

C.  There are three “aha” events associated with the season of Epiphany …

  1.  the visit of the Magi (wise men) from the East
  2.  the baptism of Jesus by John
  3.  Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine.

D.  Interestingly, only Matthew shares the story of the Magi … and only John shares the story of water to wine … but all four Gospels share the story of Jesus’ baptism.

E.  Based on that, it would seem that the baptism of Jesus is the event that is the most important … and it should not be surprising, then, that today is referred to as Baptism of Our Lord Sunday.

F.  It should not be surprising, either, to find out that we’re going to speak about the baptism of Jesus Christ on a day like today.   As we’ll see, that event was the “aha” moment for many. 

D.  So … What was Jesus’ baptism all about?  He had no past to leave behind.  He had no sin to repent of.  Why was Jesus baptized?  What significance does the baptism of Jesus have for our lives?  Let’s begin by reading the text.

Mark 1:4-11 (NRSV)  John the baptizer appeared[a] in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.   Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.   He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals.   I have baptized you with[b] water; but he will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit.’  

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.   10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him.   11 And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved;[d] with you I am well pleased.’   


  1. Mark 1:4 Other ancient authorities read John was baptizing
  2. Mark 1:8 Or in  (see Mark 1:8 on
  3. Mark 1:8 Or in  (see Mark 1:8 on
  4. Mark 1:11 Or my beloved Son


WHAT, for you, IS THE MAIN TAKEAWAY?  What should we take away from the passage?

For me … two things come to mind …

  1. What is the epiphany?
  2. Why did Jesus get baptized?


  • Mark 1:9-11



a.  Before we answer that, let us notice, first, WHY HE WAS NOT BAPTIZED.

    • He had not past to leave behind.
    • He had NO sins to repent of.  Hebrews 4:15.

b.  So, why was He baptized?

    • Matthew 3:13-15  Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”  15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”  Then he allowed Him.   
    • 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and [b]He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”   
    • Acts 17:28
    • John 14:20
    • We were in Christ when He died … We were in Him when He rose … and we were in Him when He was baptized.
    • He died for us … He was baptized for us.
    • Romans 6:1-4  What shall we say then?  Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?  Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.


  1. So, why was Jesus baptized?
  2. Two things come to mind …
    1. to provide an epiphany  … Jesus’ baptism provided a clear identification of who Jesus is … It caused a number of people to “see the light” and start following Jesus.  
    2. to fulfill all righteousness … on our behalf … for our sakes.
  3. And this is the beauty of baptism, we acknowledge that our old lives were buried at baptism and that we have been raised to new life with Christ.









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