On the remembrance today of Jesus’ Baptism, we read a devotion from Meditations on the Gospels.
Read the propers for today in Lutheran Service Builder.
John’s Baptism was a ceremonial cleansing of the Old Testament dispensation, to which Jesus submitted to fulfill all Law. Luke tells us that another ceremonial law was observed when Jesus was brought to the temple forty days after His birth (Luke 2:22–23). As Jesus, made under the Law, began to fulfill it, God the Father gave His approval as the heavens opened and He declared, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” And the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove to let the whole world know that the entire Godhead is deeply involved in the work and mission of the Son. This Son had become flesh, that He might suffer and die and shed His blood as the eternal Lamb of God, foreshadowed in prophecy and the sacrifices at the temple.
Through this act of being baptized, Jesus officially begins His public ministry as Prophet and Priest, that He might also be the King of kings. Now He goes forth from Bethany across the Jordan to proclaim to the world that He is the Messiah, whom the Father sent into the world to reconcile the lost and again draw to Himself mankind as His forgiven children. . . .
Jesus instituted the New Testament Sacrament of Baptism as a Means of Grace by which we are made His disciples. Through Baptism, we of the New Testament age are brought into God’s kingdom, adopted into His family, and made new creatures who walk in the newness of life. In Baptism, God claims us as His own. God made a covenant with us that we are to be His children and He our heavenly Father.
God never breaks this agreement of grace. A child may run away and not enjoy the blessings of home. So we may stray from God and live without hope. But as the erring child comes home penitently, his parents will not turn from him. So we know because of this baptismal covenant that God will not close the door on us as we come confessing our sins. It may happen that a father will refuse to be reconciled to his son, that a mother may forget her baby, but day after day, year in and year out, God in Christ stretches out His hands to erring and sinful mankind and pleads: “Come!” And he who comes will not be cast out.
Devotional reading is from Meditations on the Gospels, pages 29–31 © 2009 Concordia Publishing House. Originally published in 1948 as The Devotional Bible. All rights reserved.
Video is of “To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord” from A Reformation Christmas: Organ Preludes on Sixteenth-Century Hymns © 2016 Concordia Publishing House.