Reflections: The Baptism of Our Lord

Today’s Reading: Matthew 3:13-17

Daily Lectionary: Ezekiel 18:1-4, 19-32; Romans 2:17-29

John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (Matthew 3:14)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. John thinks man should be the confidence of his own life before God. Jesus thinks He should be. John thinks if there is to be forgiveness, it must be because of our own works. Thinking from above, Jesus knows that if there is to be forgiveness, it must be up to His works. It’s why Jesus is baptized today.

And John does not say, “We were beginning to wonder about you, Jesus, and whose side You are on. Thanks for clearing that up for us.” Jesus knows that Baptism is not something we do for God, but something God does for us. It’s for the forgiveness of sins. It’s why John balks at the thought of baptizing Jesus. 

But Jesus is baptized because God sent Jesus for us, to be  our righteousness for us. It is why Jesus answers, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). Jesus will sacrifice His own sinless life for you on the Cross. It’s why He places Himself into the water, today. For you. For in the water, Baptism washes Jesus and all His righteousness onto you as it washes you and all your sin onto Him. 

That means, if heaven stands open to Jesus at His Baptism, it stands open now to you at yours. It means that as the Spirit descends and remains on Jesus, and the Father smiles and says, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” these same treasures belong to you in your Baptism. 

So, when sin gets the better of you, and you don’t measure up, and you wish you were a better Christian, make the sign of the Cross and remember your Baptism into Christ. You are not your own confidence before God. You are not your own righteousness with God. Jesus is, for you. 

And guess what? God can’t imagine a better righteousness than that. So smile. Your Baptism promises that God is always smiling on 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. (Collect for the Baptism of our Lord)

-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch