The Gospel Revealed Through Jesus' Baptism
Topic: Light of Revelation Passage: Luke 3:5–3:22
In this week’s Gospel reading, we heard about the baptism of Jesus. It seems puzzling that Jesus, who was sinless, should receive baptism. As it turns out, Jesus’s baptism reveals truths about salvation and about who God is. Jesus’s baptism reveals his grace to sinners like us. He identified himself with us in baptism, so that by faith and baptism we are identified and united with him. Our baptism is a “tangible assurance” of this grace of God toward us, and when we remember that we are “a baptized Christian” (as Luther said), it is powerful for fighting sin and the devil.
Jesus’s baptism was also his submission to God’s will, a sign of the perfectly righteous life Jesus lived for us. Now by faith, his perfect righteousness is counted as ours. While circumcision was a fitting mark of the covenant for Abraham and his descendants, the Jewish people, Jesus’s baptism is the fitting mark of the New Covenant, which is not based on ethnicity or any other distinction. Peter’s interaction with the Gentile Cornelius in Acts 10 showed that Gentiles too could receive the New Covenant, and the sign of baptism. Any form of division: ethnic, racial, class, political or otherwise is anti-gospel, for “everyone who believes in Jesus’s name has forgiveness of sins” (Acts 10:43).
Finally, the baptism of Jesus reveals the mystery of the Trinity. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are revealed as the three person in one God (Lk 3:22), and the Triune God is acting inseparably to bring about our salvation. The Father sent his Son as his servant, and anointed him with the Spirit to bring righteousness to the nations (Isa 42:1-2). Because Jesus was baptized, God speaks this word over us in baptism: This is my beloved, with whom I am well pleased!
Question to Consider: If you were to remember your baptism in this way, how would it change your relationships, anxieties, and dreams?
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