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The Baptism of Our Lord

Today’s devotion focuses on the Gospel of the day and comes from Lutheranism 101: Holy Baptism.

Scripture Readings

Genesis 1:1–5
Psalm 29
Romans 6:1–11
Mark 1:4–11

Read the propers for today on lutherancalendar.org.


Because Jesus was without sin, He did not need to have any sins washed away through Baptism. But He was baptized still, and through that act, God demonstrated that those who are baptized receive the Holy Spirit.

Devotional Reading

In Jesus’ Baptism we . . . are given a wonderful picture of our own Baptism. After John baptizes Jesus, Matthew continues the story: “When Jesus was baptized, immediately He went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on Him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased’” (Matthew 3:16–17).

Did you catch it? Do you see how Jesus’ Baptism by John points forward to our own? When our Lord is baptized, the heavens open and the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove and remains on Him. Jesus is the man who is God. Jesus’ flesh gets wet in His Baptism, just like our flesh gets wet in ours. He is baptized to fulfill all righteousness; He submits to the waters in obedience to His Father’s command. We receive Baptism out of obedience to the command Jesus gives shortly before His ascension. Jesus receives the gift of the Holy Spirit in His Baptism, and we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in ours.

When the Spirit comes to Jesus, it rests on Him. It stays there. Later, on the cross, “[Jesus] said, ‘It is finished,’ and He bowed His head and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). After Jesus accomplishes the salvation of the whole world, it pleases Him to hand over His Spirit to the Church in a little Pentecost. He gives the same Spirit to us in our Baptisms that He received in His. This is the great glory of our Lord’s Baptism. It is through it that our Baptisms receive their power. It is through our Lord’s own Baptism that we receive the same gift that He received: the Holy Spirit and all His manifold gifts.

Devotional reading is from Lutheranism 101: Holy Baptism, pages 98–99 © 2013 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Hymn is “The Only Son from Heaven,” hymn 402 from Lutheran Service Book. Video © 2017 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.


Written by

Anna Johnson

Deaconess Anna Johnson is a marketing manager at Concordia Publishing House. After graduating from the deaconess program at Concordia University Chicago, she continued her studies at the University of Colorado—Denver in education and human development. She has worked as a church youth director and served a variety of other nonprofit organizations, such as the Lutheran Mission Society of Maryland. Anna loves playing video games and drinking a hot cup of tea almost as much as she loves her cat and her husband.


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