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!