Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” – Luke 3:21-22
Baptism is one of those events in the life of many Christians that is either something that happened to them when they were really young and can’t remember it or occurred when they were older and holds symbolic value of some past “God” experience.
Yesterday we celebrated the baptism of our Lord. Jesus had no reason to be baptized since John’s baptism had to do with repentance of sin, which Jesus had none to repent of. So why did He enter into those waters that day?
St. Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 5:21), For our sake he (God) made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus was baptized to take our sin upon Himself and on the cross He paid for that sin.
If we look at our baptism as some past event or symbolic of some God experience we’ve had or just a memory we miss out on what God’s word says baptism is. The New Testament records over and over that baptism is a present reality in which God acts in our lives to join us to Christ’s death and resurrection and thereby we receive the forgiveness of sins, life and salvation (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-11; Titus 3:5).
For those of us who are married, we don’t say, “I was married,” as if it was some past event that has no meaning today. We say, “I am married to…” Likewise, our baptism into Christ Jesus is not a past event, but a present reality in which Christ continues to wash us clean through His promise. “I am baptized into the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
And Jesus says, Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16). There is power in the Word of God and through faith in that Word (Christ) we are saved.
If you’d like to review what we as Lutherans believe about baptism please follow this link to the Small Catechism.
In case you missed the message for the Baptism of Our Lord Sunday or would like to listen again please follow this link or watch below.
– Pastor Tim