Reflections: January 10, 2021
The Baptism of Our Lord
By William K. Stottlemyer
"This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:17)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Baptism of Jesus is a perfect reading for us during the season of Epiphany because the season of Epiphany is all about Jesus' being revealed for you. On the banks of the Jordan River, your Savior received your sins. He came to be baptized by his cousin John so that all righteousness would be fulfilled. Jesus had to be baptized by John because in this action He shows us that He puts Himself in our place. Luther writes, "Christ accepted it from John for the reason that He was entering into our stead, indeed our person, that is, becoming a sinner for us, taking upon Himself the sins which He had not committed, and wiping them out and drowning them in His Holy Baptism." By this act, all water, when combined with the Holy Word of God, becomes "a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration" (Small Catechism: The Power of Baptism). This means that as Christ takes our sins, we receive His righteousness. What a great gift that is now yours in Christ!
At the moment of His Baptism, the other two Persons of the Trinity made an appearance to reveal to the world the importance of who Jesus is and what He would accomplish. The Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested on Jesus, signifying to us that God Himself resides in this man. Then the voice of the Father spoke: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased." What a message!
Have you ever thought about the significance of this? Jesus receives your sins, He gives to you His righteousness, and then He comes up from the water and sets His face toward the Cross. The Lamb of God heads toward His death without complaint. He goes to die for you. God the Father is pleased with His Son because He alone is the One who can fulfill all righteousness, and because He does this, God is pleased with you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Baptism of Our Lord)
-Rev. William K. Stottlemyer is the pastor of St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Hancock, MD.
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