- Isaiah 42: 1-9
- Acts 10:34-43
Isaiah 42 begins by proclaiming, “here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights.” The Lord’s Chosen Servant, empowered by the divine Spirit, comes to make justice for the nations. Today’s text speaks to the calling of a prophet to “bring forth justice to the nations” (v. 1) and “open the eyes of the blind, bring out the prisoners from the dungeon” (v. 7). The biblical images of light and darkness, sight and blindness, and captivity and freedom within Scripture generally represent both a physical and spiritual restoration.
The Lord who controls history has sent his servant to create a righteous community that cares for the least and forgotten. God acts to redeem his servant people and create a righteous community through his Spirit. God accomplishes everything he plans and promises. For instance, the reformer John Calvin identified the Servant of Isaiah 42 with Jesus Christ primarily due to the theological implications of the Servant’s work. He points out that this Servant reflects the character of Jesus Christ by pointing to the self-emptying of Christ (Philippians 2:7). In accordance with Mark 10:45, also, “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Jesus came to save and serve us and was baptised before His public ministry on earth.
Jesus began his public life as a teacher, preacher, and healer after baptism from John. The baptism of Jesus offers us steps to repent, and God is inviting us to a new way of seeing and serving and renewing. This baptism is a rite to liberate humanity from the prison of sin. Through the universal symbol of water, Jesus invites us and all people to move from unconsciousness to consciousness – a deeper awareness of how deeply loved we are by gracious God.
Peter tried to explain the Jesus story more completely to Gentiles and reminded them that Jesus Christ challenged the evil kingdom and delivered those who were under the power of the devil. The gospel is universal, and God does not show favouritism. God’s gift and call in Jesus is to all. God invites everyone to be saved by trust in Jesus Christ. The gospel makes salvation in Jesus available to anyone who believes in him. All who are baptised and have renewed their vows are invited to the renewal and rejoice.
In Acts, five times the apostles speak of witnessing the resurrection. People killed Jesus, but God raised him and showed his risen Son in public to witnesses. This risen Lord sent Peter and disciples and apostles to testify who Jesus is and what the gospel is.
Peter indicates that “God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power” (v.38). Jesus’ baptism was the occasion for the empowerment for ministry and the prelude to his ministry. As in Luke 4:18, Jesus read the word of prophet Isaiah, “the Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor”. In Acts 10:38, Jesus’ ministry can be summarised as “doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil”. It recalls Jesus’ many acts of healing and ministries in the Gospel.
Peter’s speech in today’s text provides an important frame for the meaning of Jesus’ baptism. God speaks to Jesus during the baptism: “You are my Beloved.” It offers insight into Jesus’ identity and calling. Jesus emerges from the waters of baptism and hears the truth of his identity: Beloved. Child of God. This message is one that God speaks to each of us. While Baptism might mark a beginning in the Christian journey, we are called beloved children of God and can be renewed through the reaffirmation of faith.
Isaiah reminds us that this is not a passive identity but an active calling to God’s work of justice in the world. How are we living out the truth of our identity? Jesus’ whole life was a passionate response to God’s call from the birth to baptism and the cross. May we respond to God’s calling with our whole heart as Jesus did.
In verse 43, Peter proclaimed that everyone who believes in Jesus receives forgiveness of sins through his name. This gospel of salvation was not a one-time event. God declared that whosoever would come and that will be the essence of the gospel. God forbids any kind of discrimination for Christians.
It is not easy for us to break through the limitations of how we see and deal with others because our hidden prejudices are deeply ingrained. However, I believe that we can be renewed as we continually confront the ways of God in Jesus Christ. Our hope is to be open to the Holy Spirit and to seek new understanding and deep relationship with God. May we look for the leading of God in our lives through the reaffirmation of faith. When God sends us to do his work, may we go without hesitation reminding the meaning and renewal of our Baptism.
REAFFIRMATION OF BAPTISM
Do you commit yourself to God, trusting in Jesus Christ as Saviour and in the Holy Spirit as God’s power and presence along the way?
I commit myself to God.
THE APOSTLE’S CREED And now I ask you to stand (those who feel comfortable) and confess the faith into which you were baptised & in which you continue to grow:
Do you believe in God who made you and loves you?
I believe in God the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
Do you believe in Jesus Christ, your Saviour and Lord?
I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again, he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.
Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, and the continuing work of our salvation?
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church,
The communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,
The resurrection of the body and the everlasting life. Amen
COMMITMENT TO MISSION Please be seated. I ask you now to pledge yourselves to Christ’s ministry in the world:
Will you continue in the community of faith, the apostle’s
teaching, the breaking of bread and the prayers?
With God’s help, we will.
M: Will you proclaim by word and example
the good news of God in Christ?
All: With God’s help, we will.
M: Will you seek Christ in all people,
and love your neighbour as yourself?
All: With God’s help, we will.
M: Will you strive for justice and peace,
and respect the dignity of every human being?
All: With God’s help, we will.
M: May almighty God, who has given us new birth by water and the Holy Spirit keep us steadied in faith, and bring us to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
THE SIGN OF THE CROSS
Today we remember that, from the time of our baptism,
the sign of the cross has been upon us.
I invite us all to join me in tracing a sign of the cross and saying “I belong to Christ. Amen”
I belong to Christ. Amen
I invite you to trace the sign of the cross on those near you, saying:
“You belong to Christ. Amen”
You belong to Christ. Amen
May we praise God with his people for all he has done for us.
Thanks be to God! Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)