Worship Helps for Epiphany 1
Artwork: The Baptism of Christ
Artist: Joachim Patinir
Note: We are now using the Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) of the Bible for our Scripture readings for worship. The EHV is a recent English translation produced by our WELS pastors and professors. Our own Dr. John Brug is the General Editor of the EHV. Please read the Introduction to the Evangelical Harvest Version after the Hymn of the Day.
Worship Theme: Jesus appears as the Christ, the Anointed One. The titles “Christ” and “Messiah” both mean “The Anointed One,” and they describe how God prepared Jesus for his mission. Since the days of Othniel (Judges ), the Spirit of the Lord empowered God’s heroes to do his saving work. At his baptism, God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power and declared this son of Mary to be the Son of God—the one anointed to be the Savior of mankind.
Old Testament: Isaiah 42:1-7
Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen one in whom I delight.
I am placing my Spirit upon him.
He will bring forth the verdict for the nations.
2He will not cry out.
He will not raise his voice.
He will not make his voice heard in the street.
3A bent reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not snuff out.
He will faithfully bring forth the verdict.
4He will not grow dim, and he will not be crushed
until he establishes the verdict on the earth.
The coastlands will wait for his teaching.
5This is what the true God says, the Lord,
who creates the heavens and stretches them out,
who spreads out the earth
and everything that comes out of it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and life to those who walk on it.
6“I am the Lord.
I am calling you in righteousness.
I will grasp your hand,
and I will guard you.
I will appoint you to be a covenant for the people,
to be a light for the nations,
7to open blind eyes,
to bring the prisoners out of the dungeon
and to bring those who live in darkness out of prison.
1. Who is the “servant of the Lord” being spoken about in these verses?
2. What kind of person would he be?
3. What job would the Lord give to him?
Epistle: Acts 10:34-38
34Then Peter began to speak: “Now I really am beginning to understand that God does not show favoritism, 35but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36He sent his word to the people of Israel, proclaiming the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37“You know what happened throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached. 38God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the Devil, because God was with him.
4. What realization did Peter finally have about God?
5. What did Jesus receive in his baptism? (verse 38)
Gospel: Matthew 3:13-17
13Then Jesus came from Galilee to be baptized by John at the Jordan. 14But John tried to stop him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?”
15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, because it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John let him. 16After Jesus was baptized, he immediately went up out of the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened for him! He saw the Spirit of God, descending like a dove and landing on him, 17and a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my Son, whom I love. I am well pleased with him.”
6. How did John react when Jesus came to be baptized?
7. Why did Jesus get baptized?
8. What three persons were present at Jesus’ baptism?
2. Through the prophet we hear that this servant would be quiet (verse 2), gentle (verse 3), faithful and just (verses 3-4).
3. Isaiah says that Jesus would be a “light for the Gentiles” (verse 6) in words that are similar to Simeon’s (Luke -32).
4. Peter now realized that God didn’t show favoritism toward his Old Testament people, the Jews. Jesus was the Savior of all people. God wants that truth shared with all nations.
5. Peter says that he received a special measure of the Holy Spirit and power. In Jesus’ baptism, God the Father was preparing his Son for the tough road ahead. He assured him of his faithful love and guidance.
6. He refused because he knew that Jesus was not a sinner himself.
7. What kind of God gets baptized? The Baptist’s question confronts every Christian reading this account, and we join in John’s incredulity at Jesus’ intended condescension. Though John objected, Jesus encouraged him to allow this concession in order to fulfill their purpose there together. Their joint purpose was to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus would do that by being the Messiah and standing in the place of sinful man—first at the font and ultimately at the cross. John would play his part by fulfilling his role as forerunner: baptizing with water that the Messiah might be revealed (John ). When John consented and baptized Jesus, the Spirit fulfilled the promises of Isaiah (First Lesson), and Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power (Second Lesson). In this inauguration into his office as the Christ, God prepared the Messiah for his mission with an unlimited outpouring of the Spirit (John ). In the very next verse, empowered and led by the Spirit, the hero of God immediately goes out to war against Satan on behalf of mankind (Matthew 4:1ff), fulfilling all righteousness and bringing us peace.
8. The three persons of the Holy Trinity (God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit) were present at Jesus’ baptism. In the same way, the Holy Trinity was present at our baptisms, as we are baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19).
Putting your faith into action
Isaiah describes some very awesome things about the coming Messiah. He is God’s servant come to fulfill God’s will that he be the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is a loving Savior who will not “snuff out” people when they are weak or hurting. He is the one sent by the Creator and Preserver of this earth. He is the one who has taken hold of our hand and led us through life. He is the one who motivates us to put our Christianity into practice with our everyday lives. The offerings we bring to worship each week are an example of something that we do that is compelled by faith in our Savior.
God the Father has given His Spirit to Christ, His beloved Son, according to the received humanity. (Because of this He is called also Messiah; i.e., the Anointed.) He has not received His gifts with limits as other saints. For on Christ the Lord, according to His received human nature, rests "the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge ‹and the fear of the Lord" (Isaiah 11:2). (According to His divinity, He is of one essence with the Holy Spirit.) This not in such a way that, as a man, He knew and could do only some things, like other saints know and can do things by God's Spirit, who works in them only created gifts. According to His divinity, Christ is the Second Person in the Holy Trinity. And from Him, as also from the Father, the Holy Spirit proceeds. So the Spirit is and remains Christ's and the Father's own Spirit to all eternity, not separated from God's Son. Therefore, as the Church Fathers say, the entire fullness of the Spirit has been communicated by the personal union to Christ according to the flesh, which is personally united with God's Son. This voluntarily manifests and shows itself with all its power ‹in, with, and through Christ's human nature›… Now ‹according to the received human nature›, He knows and can do all things. For on Him the Father poured the Spirit of wisdom and power without measure. – Formula of
Concord, Solid Declaration, Article VIII,
Person of Christ (paragraphs 72-74)
294; 709; 89; 91; 737
1 God’s own child, I gladly say it:
I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it,
Gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many?
I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free,
Lasting to eternity!
2 Sin, disturb my soul no longer:
I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger:
Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me
Since my baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood,
Sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?
3 Satan, hear this proclamation:
I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation;
I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled,
All your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny,
God, my Lord, unites with me!
4 Death, you cannot end my gladness:
I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness
To inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes
Faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine
To make life immortal mine.
5 There is nothing worth comparing
To this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring:
Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising,
Still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ;
I’m a child of paradise!
Text: Erdmann Neumeister, 1671–1756; tr. Robert E. Voelker, b. 1957 © 1991
Robert E. Voelker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Introduction to the 2017 Edition
What is the Evangelical Heritage Version?
This preliminary edition of The Holy Bible: Evangelical Heritage Version, which consists of the New Testament and Psalms, is intended to acquaint readers with a new translation of the Bible produced by the Wartburg Project.
Our translation is called Evangelical because its highest goal is to proclaim the good news of the gospel of salvation through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ, God’s eternal Son. Though there are many topics in the Bible, all of them are there to serve the gospel of Christ. All of our work in producing and distributing this translation is directed to the glory of God and to the eternal salvation of people’s souls.
Our translation is called Heritage because this word looks to the past, the present, and the future.
Heritage expresses our respect for the generations of Christians and for the faithful translators who have passed the Bible down to us. We are aware that we in the present are building on the foundation which they have laid. As the old saying goes: We can see so far because we are standing on the shoulders of giants.
The term Heritage also looks to the future. The gospel is a precious inheritance that is to be passed from generation to generation until Christ returns. It is our prayer that this translation will have a part in that great mission which the Lord has left for his church. Our goal and motto is expressed in the hymn verse:
God’s Word is our great heritage
And shall be ours forever.
To spread its light from age to age
Shall be our chief endeavor.
Through life it guides our way.
In death it is our stay.
Lord, grant, while worlds endure,
We keep its teaching pure
Throughout all generations.
To this end, the goal of our project is to produce a balanced translation, suitable for all-purpose use in the church.
We seek a balance between the old and the new. We debated whether our translation should be called new or revised. Neither term tells the whole story. Our translation can be called revised or traditional insofar as it builds on the tradition of Bible translation that goes back to the King James Version, to Martin Luther, and beyond. It is new in that it is not based on any one template, and it introduces new terms in those places where the traditional terms no longer communicate clearly.
We seek a balance between the poles of so-called literal and dynamic equivalent theories of translation. A translator should not adhere too closely to any one theory of translation because literalistic, word-for-word translations sometimes convey the wrong meaning, or they do not communicate clearly in the receiving language. Overly free translations deprive the reader of some of the expressions, imagery, and style of the original.
We seek a balance between formality and informality. The Bible contains many types of literature and different levels of language, from the very simple to the very difficult. For this reason, the translator should not be too committed to producing one level of language but should try to reproduce the tone or “flavor” of the original.
The Evangelical Heritage Version is designed for learning and teaching. Our translators assume that their readers have the ability and the desire to learn new biblical words and to deepen their understanding of important biblical terms and concepts. Translators should not be condescending or patronizing toward their readers but should be dedicated to helping them grow. The Bible was written for ordinary people, but it is a literary work with many figures of speech and many rare words. The Bible is a book to be read, but it is also a book to be studied. Our footnotes are designed to assist in the process of learning and teaching. Our translation is in that sense a textbook.
The Evangelical Heritage Version is not an interpretative translation. On one level, every act of translation involves interpretation, but when we say that the Evangelical Heritage Version strives to avoid importing interpretation into the translation, we mean that our duty and goal is to understand and to reproduce as closely as possible what the original text says and to say no more and no less than what the text says.
We welcome you to test this translation and to give us your feedback. God willing, the whole Bible will be published in the not too distant future.