Baptism of our Lord 2021
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
January 10, 2021
Genesis 1:1-5, Romans 6:1-11, Mark 1:4-11

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            In so many ways we are do-it-yourself people.  The big box hardware stores are full of folks working on home projects. There is a great sense of accomplishment when you finish and see your completed work.  Job well done.  In spiritual matters there is a great temptation to make salvation into a do-it-yourself proposition.  If you want it done right you have to do it yourself. 

When it comes to salvation we want assurances, we want guarantees.  We want proof.  We want control.  We want to be able to point to something in ourselves to know we are saved.  We want to point to a decision made, a commitment, a manifestation of the Spirit, a spiritual experience, a feeling, a list of the good things accomplished. It is so tempting to have it be something about you. 

            The trouble is that if you are looking to something in yourself it leaves you with unending doubt.  Relying on yourself leaves you with a world of uncertainty because you don’t do things perfectly; because you are a sinner; because your thoughts and words and actions are tainted by sin.  When you look to yourself you are only left with questions, “Have I done enough?  Am I sincere enough?  Am I good enough?”  And the answer is always, “No.”

            This is why the baptism of Jesus is such an amazing thing. Mark 1:4-5 (ESV)
4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.[1] 

            The people are baptized for repentance.  The people are baptized by John confessing their sins.  Jesus comes to the Jordan to John to be baptized.  Jesus?  God in flesh? The sinless Lamb of God goes down into the waters of baptism.  And then what happens?

            Mark 1:10-11 (ESV) 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opening and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” [2]

            Immediately the heavens are torn open.  Schizomenos in Greek.  This is the same word used by Matthew to describe the curtain in the temple being torn in two at Jesus’ death.  Jesus tears open the temple and He tears open heaven for you.  There is no barrier to keep you away from God.  In baptism Jesus gives you the gift of eternal life in heaven with Him.  

            In our rite of Holy Baptism we pray, “Through the Baptism in the Jordan of Your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, You sanctified and instituted all waters to be a blessed flood and a lavish washing away of sin. 

Jesus, the sinless one, goes into the water at His baptism.  At your baptism you pull Jesus out of the water. Galatians 3:27 (ESV) 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.[3]

            Romans 6:3-5 (ESV) 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.[4]

      Being baptized covers you with Christ.  In baptism you die with Christ and you rise with Christ.  You put on Christ.  Your sinfulness is covered by Jesus’ holiness.  You are a sinner but you have been declared a saint because of what Jesus has done for you. So, saint, what do you do?  How do you live as someone who is a sinner but is at the same time a saint?  How do you live as someone who declares, “I am baptized?”  What does such baptizing with water indicate?  Luther tells us in the Small Catechism.  It indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.[5]

      As a baptized child of God you learn to hate sin and be saddened by your sin.  You continually turn away from sin because of who you are in Christ.  You have put on Christ. You are a new creation in Christ.  Heaven has been torn open and in your baptism you are brought into the Kingdom of Heaven. Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV) 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. [6]

            Assurance of salvation is yours because you are baptized. You can trust this because this is not something from yourself, it is from God Himself.  You can be confident in your forgiveness and salvation because it comes from outside of you.  It is a gift from God. 

            God’s own child, I gladly say it.  I am baptized into Christ.

There is nothing worth comparing
To this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring:
Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising,
Still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ;
I’m a child of paradise!


[1]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] Luther’s Small Catechism, CPH 2017 page 24

[6]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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