When were you baptized? How old were you when you were baptized? Were you a baby just a couple days old? Or did you receive your Baptism when you were older, as an adult maybe?
What was the name of the pastor who baptized you? Were you baptized at the church? Were you baptized at your home? Sometimes babies are even baptized in the hospital.
Do you have a picture of your Baptism? Maybe you even remember it yourself. Otherwise, you know about it, because your parents told you all about it, and so you have made a picture in your mind, using your imagination, about what it all might have looked like.
Do you have a baptismal certificate in your home – in your bedroom or your family room? That certificate has your name on it and your pastor’s name. It says that you were baptized on a particular day.
It’s good to think about that day that you were baptized. It’s good to remember it every day of your life. But why?
Admittedly, it may not have looked like much. There was your pastor, your parents, and you, probably just a baby. There’s a good chance you had a white robe, a baptismal gown, draped over your tiny little body. The pastor took you in his arms. He poured water on your forehead three times and said, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.” And there you received God’s name. There you were declared God’s child. You became His very own possession.
As I said, to our own human eyes, it may not have looked like much. A splash of water and some words that the pastor spoke. Maybe you think you’ve seen things more incredible or exciting than that. But as a Christian, you’ve got to learn the art of not just going by what your eyes see. You’ve got to learn to see things as God sees them, from His perspective.
Remember what we prayed from the Catechism tonight? “Baptism is not just plain water but it is the water included in God’s command and combined with God’s Word.” That means that there is a glorious reality hidden in Baptism because God gave it to us. It’s His gift. And if you want to see it from the right perspective, from God’s perspective, then you’ll have to have a good look at God’s own Son taking the plunge in the Jordan River when He was baptized. When Jesus, God’s own Son, comes out of that water, the heavens are visibly opened, the Spirit of God descends upon Him, and the Father speaks words from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.” He was pleased because His Son was doing the dirty work of taking away all your sins – bearing the dreadful curse on Calvary’s tree – and triumphing over it all by His resurrection.
Risen from the grave, and triumphant over sin and death, Jesus gave some wonderful marching order to those disciples: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age.”
So what’s Jesus’ Baptism got to do with your Baptism? Simply put, in Jesus’ Baptism He was taking away all your sins, but in your Baptism you were receiving everything that belongs to Him, His righteousness, His innocence, and His holy life.
Don’t go thinking that your Baptism isn’t any less spectacular. Because when you look at things from God’s perspective, with the eyes of faith, then you’ll see clearly that that was not simple water that was poured on you. For wrapped within that water of your Baptism was the Word of God Himself – Jesus Christ.
Martin Luther writes in the Large Catechism that to be baptized in God’s name is to be baptized not by men, but by God Himself. Therefore, although it is performed by human hands, it is still truly God’s own work.
It’s a good thing to appreciate the pastor who baptized you, but don’t go thinking too much of him either, because it wasn’t ultimately he that baptized you. Oh, he had a role to play, he held you, he spoke God’s Word and applied the water, but it was ultimately Jesus who took you up in His arms at your Baptism. It was none other than Jesus Christ Himself who was standing in that water right with you.
So guess what? There were some pretty amazing things happening that day when you were baptized, because you were baptized in the name of the Triune God. You may not have seen it at the time, but the heavens were opened to you, the Holy Spirit descended upon you and came to rest on you. The Father in heaven spoke loudly and clearly of His love for you. Of you, He said, “This is my beloved son, this is my beloved daughter, with whom I am well pleased.” Got that? That means in your Baptism you received God’s friendship, His love, His perfect divine approval. And don’t think for a moment that He’s changed His mind about you.
Now look again. Look with the eyes of faith and see the hidden reality in Baptism. That it’s more than a mere splash of water, but a river cascading with divine life. Look with those renewed eyes and see that Baptism is your union with Christ both at the Jordan River and at Calvary. Your connection between the river and the cross, your link with the water and the blood. Holy Baptism offers here and now all that our Lord accomplished for you then and there. And by faith we receive it all.
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
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OFFERINGS TO LMC
Please remember your gifts to LMC. There are a few options for giving:
- You can mail your weekly offerings to the church.
- You can also do an online bill pay through your bank account, which can recur each month. Your bank then sends LMC a check with your offering. There is no cost to you or LMC for this.
- You can set up online giving through an App called Tithe.ly. There is a small fee associated with this transaction. You may find this option at www.lmcusc.org/give.