Jesus’ Baptism & Ours
Today we celebrate the baptism of our Lord. At His baptism, Jesus is recognized by the Father to be the Savior of the world and thus He begins His ministry of reconciling a sinful people to Himself. In Divine mercy, He takes His place with sinners. He takes their sin upon Himself.
For your sake, “The Father (He) made Jesus (Him) to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) By this act of mercy, you are now reconciled to God. (v.0)
On this day, you and I also recall that we have each and every one of us individually been baptized into Christ Jesus. Jesus’ baptism and your own - what do they say to us today?
I. At Jesus’ baptism
A. Jesus was revealed the Son of God. How so?
1. The Spirit descended in the bodily form of a dove. The heavens were opened. So that the Spirit could descend. Marking Jesus as the only Savior,
2. The Father’s voice was heard saying, “You are My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” The Father gives His mark of approval. The Father is well please because Jesus has been declared as your only Savior. Jesus is not one among many. The Father has spoken. Jesus is your only Savior.
B. His ministry of redemption began “When all the people were baptized.” Jesus submitted Himself “to a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (Luke 3:2) Whose sins? Yours. Mine. And that of the eternal world.
CS Lewis in his classic children’s book The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe explains the implications of the cross and resurrection when he explains, “When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor's stead, the table would crack and death itself would start working backwards.”
Aslan (the Lion) follows the tradition and submits himself. Aslan's resurrection does not occur because he merely helps redeem, but also because he obeys the Emperor's rules and instructions. How much more your redemption is made perfect as He submits Himself to the will of His Father. By entering the waters of the Jordan and in His baptism, He enters the fray taking your sin to Himself.
1. Jesus was called to proclaim a specific message. He had no sin of His own. But He took the sin of the world to Himself. He was baptized into His own death so that “when you pass through the waters,’ He will be with you. (Isaiah 43:2)
2. He has redeemed you with His own blood. That you might be His own. To live with Him in His kingdom. As you are baptized with a baptism like His, you are united with Him in His death and resurrection so that you “might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4)
3. That message was one the people had already heard; “the kingdom of God is at hand.”
a. Now we see if fully. There is nothing lacking. All you need regarding your comfort and care has been provided.
b. In the person of Jesus of Nazareth your sin is covered. Your redemption is complete. Your faith is strengthened. Your destiny is certain.
C. The people are now called to look to Him for life.
1. He will begin in obscurity. As Isaiah would predict; “He had not form of majesty that we should look at Him and no beauty that we should desire Him.” (Isaiah 53:2)
2. He will end in glory at His glorious transfiguration when on the mountain the Father will speak again, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”
II. At Your Baptism
A. We became children of God in and through baptism. Whenever you make the sign of the cross, you recall your inclusion into the family of Christ. The sign of the cross was placed upon your forehead and your heart as a sign that Christ the crucified has redeemed you.
B. Your redemption is your reality. Remember. Who you are and whose you are. You are a redeemed child of Christ. You are baptized into Christ.
1. St. Paul’s word to the Romans encourages us – “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” (Romans 6:3ff)
2. We are given the assurance of forgiveness, life, salvation. As you are baptized with a baptism like His, so also are you united with Him in His death and resurrection that you “might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:4) For all who are baptized into Christ Jesus receive His anointing of the Holy Spirit and are named by His Father as beloved and well pleased sons and daughters.
C. We look to our baptism for life.
1. Daily we die to sin and rise with Christ. Says Luther, “The Christian should every day suppress the old man and grow toward maturity in the new man…As we once obtained forgiveness of sins in Baptism, so that forgiveness continues for us as long as we live, that is to say, for as long as we have the old Adam hanging about our necks.”
2. Daily we are renewed to be a witness, to serve Christ and our neighbor. “For if we want to be Christians, we must carry on in the work that makes us Christians.”
Luther in his large Catechism put it this way, “Thus we see how splendid a thing Baptism is. It snatches us out of the devil’s jaws, makes God our own, defeats and puts away sin, daily strengthens the new man in us, keeps functioning, and remains with us until we leave our present troubles to enter glory everlasting. Everyone should therefore look upon his Baptism as his everyday wear, to be worn constantly. He should at all times be found in faith and surrounded by its fruits.”
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 Baptism copyright © Ed Riojas, Higher Things
 Collect for the Baptism of our Lord, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
 - For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and by the Church The American Lutheran Publicity Bureau Delhi, NY © 1994 Vol. I Luther quote pg. 217