With jesus's baptism, a new era of love, mercy, and forgiveness begins and continues until his second coming
Sunday, January 13th, 2019: The Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Where we must go, Jesus has already gone before us. Jesus leads “The Way.” And the way for us to enter into Jesus Christ is through the sacrament of baptism. Holy Mother Church teaches wisely that we must be baptized, be born again of water and the Holy Spirit. We must be baptized in Jesus Christ, in His baptism. Jesus Christ was baptized into His own death, which leads to eternal life. That’s why Jesus insists that John the Baptist baptize Him.
John has a big message for those who think he might be the Christ, the anointed one. John says that “one mightier than I is coming”(Luke 3:16). John says his baptism is only in water. It is an outward sign signifying what the person inwardly must express. Jesus’s baptism will be definitive. It will be an act of God bringing salvation and judgement. St. Luke presents John baptizing Jesus last, after all of the people have been baptized. John’s mission climaxes here. Jesus receives the special anointing of the Holy Spirit as the Messiah in this baptism. Immediately, a new era begins. God opens the heavens and visits His people. This is the turning point in human history. God’s great salvation dawns at Jesus Christ’s birth and is achieved at Jesus’s death on the Cross. God gives a new revelation to His people. The Holy Spirit rests on Jesus to reside in Him bodily. The voice from heaven identifies Jesus as God’s Son and chosen one. Jesus is announced as the messianic king whose mission is humble self-sacrifice. God is good and lovingly kind and this is personified in His Own Son, Jesus Christ. If man gives himself totally to Jesus Christ, God will save him from eternal death. God will save him through the washing of regeneration in the waters of baptism. Christian baptism equals regeneration. Man is created anew. Baptism plants a new principal of supernatural life in man’s soul. Man begins to live on a new and higher plane. So in baptism, man is made into a new being. God in His mercy has brought about this change. No deed of man has any part in this new birth. God’s mercy alone saves us. In our rebirth, we have been pardoned and raised up to live a new and higher life. We are baptized into Christ’s death. In our sharing of Christ’s death and resurrection, God has enlivened us by putting a new and Holy Spirit in us, a Spirit which allows us to love and acknowledge God as “Abba”, “Father” and to walk blamelessly in our new lives. Our lives do not end in death. We have in God a hope for eternal life.
All of that happens in our baptism into Jesus Christ’s death and His resurrection. Our sinful selves are plunged into Christ’s death and our new selves rise in Christ’s resurrection.
Baptism is so essential that, in this church, infants and children are baptized. To not baptize a child would deny a child a priceless, essential grace of becoming a child of God. Read Acts 16:15 and verse 33. It does not say that children were baptized but it does say that the (whole) household had been baptized. That is a strong implication that children were baptized in the family household. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that one shall not baptize a child.
So this sacrament of Baptism is important, essential, and life-giving, eternal life-giving. It is so important that Jesus leads the way for each and every one of us. Baptism into His death, baptism into His resurrection, baptism into His eternal life because of His mercy and no merit of ours. How good, gracious, loving, and kind God is.
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