I attend an historic church where we follow the liturgical calendar for the Sunday morning readings.  We use a 3 year lectionary and are currently in the season of Epiphany, reading from Cycle C.  I LOVE that the girls and I can study the readings ahead of time. My girls almost always give me the, ‘Oh, we studied this’ look.

In anticipation of this Sunday’s gospel lesson, The Baptism of Jesus, we read these scriptures:  Isaiah 43:1-7, Romans 6:1-11, Luke 3:15-22.    Take a few minutes to read them and let the beauty of how they relate together sink in.  The brightest minds from church history have developed this brilliant method of teaching the scriptures by pairing passages that help give light or even interpret each other.  It’s a way of studying the life of the Old Testament saints and the life of Jesus that adds depth and clarity.

So the question most of us are asking today is, “Why was Jesus baptized?”

Wasn’t he sinless?  Did he need to be baptized?  What can we learn from His baptism and how did His baptism change everything?

The historic church has always believed in the saving power of baptism.  Not from the water alone.   But from the Word attached to the water.   And the historic church has always baptized infants.  I didn’t grow up in the historic church so this has been a hard pill for me to swallow.  This podcast might help you if you struggle with what Baptism means for the believer.

It may all come down to this—–was Jesus baptized as an example for us to follow?  Is that all there is to it?

A little quid pro quo.  “I was baptized, now you be baptized.”

This sermon by Brent Kuhlmann might convince you otherwise.

Jesus comes to the dirty waters of the Jordan River FOR YOU.   He gets in the water on purpose FOR YOU.  He knows that from this water, He will go to the cross, where the sins that He takes on from us all—-from the dirty waters of our Baptism—–will be paid for, in full.  We go to Baptism, where His Word, attached to water, washes us clean from every sin and He goes there to take those sins upon Himself.  He goes there to make the water blessed, because He is the Word, incarnate.

And it was there that heaven was opened for us.

Heaven is open, FOR YOU and ME!

We can now have access to the Father again, all because of Jesus.

His Baptism is not merely our example.  He becomes a sinner in those waters, FOR US.  He takes on the weight and shame and horror of our guilt.

And He carries  that heavy load of sin and guilt  to the cross, where He submits to death.

He goes willingly into those waters to die.

So that we can go to that life-giving water and live.

Blessed Epiphany to you!






16 comments on “The Baptism of Jesus”

  1. Hello friend! Happy Epiphany to you too. Today I pondered the very same question you raised in this post of “Why was Jesus baptized.” with the children whom I teach at our church. We are a liturgical church too and I love that we visit Jesus’ baptism many times over. I always glean something new in each revisit of baptism. Today with the children we talked about how God said as Jesus was baptised “You are my beloved and with you I am well pleased.”In that statement, God said “You” not only meaning the solo Jesus but also all of us for whom Jesus would die for and then live within through the power of the Holy Spirit. When we are baptised, we become members of Christ’s body and receive the salvation that was given to us by Jesus through his death and ressurection. We are given new life in Him. It always renews my soul to discuss baptism and the wonderful gift that we all have received in having new life in Christ Jesus. Thank you for sharing this post. I aways find your thoughts on faith to be very inspiring and thought provoking.

    I hope you have a wonderful week!

  2. Hi, there Miss Edie-Happy Epiphany to you. This post is another to bookmark. I have never been taught of Jesus’ baptism this way. It is something thati most definitely NEED to study. I have always been taught that Jesus was baptized as an example for us. I was not raised in the historical church either. I have always had so many questions that no one could answer. Sometimes I was told to have faith and believe. I do have faith and truly want to know more of the grace of our God and Father. To better understand the miracle of salvation and what He has done for me.
    Thank you again for always sharing your heart and wisdom.
    Hugs :))

  3. Thank you for posting this Edie! John has the stomach bug and we have missed church 2 weeks now and I am sad when we do! Thank you for this beautiful post and brightening my spirits 🙂

  4. Hi Edie,
    I am so glad you wrote this post and are helping to communicate the beauty of the liturgical calendar. I think there is so much misunderstanding of it. I am Roman Catholic and love following the liturgical calendar. I think you might really enjoy listening to the podcast by Fr Barron on the website Word on Fire (http://www.wordonfire.org) for this week. His homily on Jesus’ baptism is beautiful.
    God Bless You Edie!

  5. Wonderful post! I attend a Roman Catholic church, and we had similar readings today 🙂 Another interesting thing our pastor pointed out during the homily was that Jesus waited in line to be baptized – he humbled himself to be baptized, as he humbled himself to be born, live, and die as a man among us. What a joyous gift to all of us!

  6. Edie,
    Your post caught my eye as we are preparing for our daughter’s baptism next Saturday! We’ve been talking A LOT about baptism. In our church infants are not baptized as we believe that they are ‘alive in Christ’ and cannot sin. At age 8 or older, we believe children understand the difference between right and wrong and can choose to be baptized. We are also baptized by immersion as Jesus was. I really like Matthew 3:15 and knowing that Jesus was baptized to “fulfill all righteousness” and that we can also follow God’s command to do likewise and to enter into a covenant with him and to become a follower of Jesus Christ. (http://mormon.org/faq)

    Like you, I’m indebted to our Savior for showing us the way; for his atonement in the Garden of Gethsemane, death on the cross, and ultimately, for his resurrection that we may all have the opportunity to overcome death and sin.

    I love knowing that others follow Him too and it’s so great that you are studying this with your girls.

  7. Took me years and years to accept this view of baptism. I fought it, then didn’t think about it, then had my babies baptized because that’s what Lutherans do, and I was a Lutheran. Now I cherish my baptism and my children’s baptisms. Thank you for reminding us all of Our Lord’s baptism. Our church is going through some changes during our vacancy, and sadly, we did not even hear about the Baptism of Jesus today.

  8. Ahhh, so very well put and more importantly so very thankful for the truth in your words and His!! And all God’s people said…. Thank You and Amen:0)

  9. Edie,
    Thank you for your post! Our grandpa is dying tonight, and your words really put me at ease. Thank you for your thoughts.
    I always enjoy catching up on your blog. 🙂

  10. Pastor Wilken made the great point in Bible class today that, following His Baptism, Jesus goes out into the wilderness to be tempted, and it is His Father’s Words that are ringing in His ears: “This is My Son; with Him I am well pleased.” It’s no surprise then that when the devil tempts Jesus in the wilderness, he attempts undermine those very words: “If you are truly the Son of God . . .”
    And yet Jesus responds with the words given Him in His Baptism . . . which is exactly what we do when we are tempted! When Satan tempts us and tries to draw us away from our Father, we respond just as our Lord did: “God’s own child I now gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!”
    It really is amazing that our Lord would come to earth as a man to experience exactly what we do, even down to our Baptisms, the ensuing temptations, and the way in which we (and He) are given to respond. Mmmkay, I’m gonna stop blathering now.

  11. Edie-

    My church, Faith Lutheran, in Georgetown, TX, follows the liturgical calendar as your church. We had the same scripture readings with a sermon about Jesus’ Baptism. I love knowing my congregation and in congregations worldwide, believers are participating in the same divine service, with confession/absolution, hearing the apointed scripture readings for that Sunday, standing for the Holy Gospel, listening to our preacher share the Gospel, reciting the Apostle’s or the Nicene Creed and taking the Lords Supper every week…such joy and comfort to know others are participating in these hundreds year old traditions and that we are not alone as we worship our awesome God and all he has done for us.

  12. I love this! I can’t wait til my little girl grows old enough for me to study the lectionary with her in preparation for worship! Thank you for sharing your reflection!

  13. Hi Edie!

    Very interesting! I’ve grown up in a non-denominational church, so we don’t have a lectionary, and I’m not very familiar with it. It seems like an insightful piece of spiritual literature.

    I love your explanation of the baptism of Jesus. I’ve always loved the baptism of Jesus and wondered why He would have to be. And then I came across Philippians 2:7 where Jesus emptied himself of his divinity and reputation to do everything as a man on earth…to take our place, praise God! And, I love when the scripture talks about his baptism and says once he was raised up that the spirit of God descended on him like a dove. I’ve always felt like since Jesus came as man, he had to be anointed by God to do what he did on earth…just as we have to receive the finished work of Jesus as our anointing. Beautiful!

  14. To “grow” in God makes all other things seem insignificant. I was born with a spinal disease that eventually caused an unsightly hump on my back. The spinal disease was extremely rare. My blessed parents knew nothing and my doctor had no answers to I willingly plodded through life; being bullied and tormented by my peers, teachers and strangers. But in my heart I forgave them because I knew at an early age what my mission in life would be. At the age of 31, while living in California, we found a physician in Utah who could correct the deformity before it got worse and eventually killed me. It was a high risk surgery because I was required to have an incision down my chest and from my neck down to my backside. Surgeons were skeptical because the surgery took 17 hours and included removing one rib to help use as graft. My wonderful family donated the 16 pints of blood I would need transfused during the operation. My beautiful husband held my hand and my little three year old adopted son always wanted to pray for his mommy. My family gathered hundreds of friends and family for a day of prayer. Twenty-four hours after such a grueling surgery, I was stood up by three therapists only to discover I had “grown” three inches. Now I am 6’1″. A tender mercy because I wanted to be taller than some of my brothers. What I do know is God guided the hands of the surgeons who worked so hard. There was one other person in that operating room as well. Although not seen, he was the one who was quietly standing there bearing up the cross I had carried all my life and filling me with his love and light. My healing was miraculous. I had to give up some things I loved to do, but I was able to raise my beautiful son and now I have not only him but a beautiful daughter-in-law and grandson. Bright adults who listen to the holy spirit and bring me so much joy. My husband is a designer for homes in the $5million plus market. However, he always remarks that there are so many homes that lack “the spirit of love”. I am new to reading your blog and came upon it by accident or should I say there was no accident. Please continue to inspire and empower women to know God is the One who makes all things possible. I know that He is ever smiling upon you. P.S. When my son was young (until he moved away at 18) I would go into his room at night and sing a song called “Where Love Is” to him. When he was in Afghanistan I often did it via Skype. Now’s he’s home in grad school. Thank you Lord.

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