Summary: I like to think of Baptism as a humidifier for my mind, body, and soul.
Sermon for Matthew 3:13-17
Baptism of our Lord
January 9th 2005
First things first. What is Baptism? It is simple water combined with God’s word of Promise. It is one of two Sacraments in the Lutheran Tradition along with Holy Communion. Both of which we will experience today. So what is a sacrament? A sacrament is simply a visible sign of God’s Word of Promise. It is a Latin word that means mystery.
So what you might say. Tell me something I don’t already know. Well, I like to think of Baptism as a humidifier for my mind, body, and soul. That’s right, a humidifier, you know one of those things that puts moisture into places that are dry. Let me explain.
When God created the world the Bible says the Spirit of God hovered over the face of the waters. Then God took clay or mud and formed the first human being. God then recreated a world gone bad with the waters of the flood. He/She then set the chosen people free by separating the water so the Israelites could pass through to safety.
And finally in today’s gospel the promises of God are fulfilled when Jesus is baptized. It says, “Just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’”
So you see, when you return to your Baptism your cracked and dried out body now becomes moist and pliable so the Spirit of God will make you wonder at God spectacular creation, make you realize you have been made and formed by a loving parent, even when your life goes bad you too can be recreated with the promise of forgiveness, and led through whatever keeps you in slavery, and hopefully someday hear the voice of God calling out, “This is my Son/Daughter, my Beloved with whom I am well pleased.”
But that’s not all one receives through Baptism. The benefits of water and promise are absolutely amazing. Through the event that happen along time ago, for some of you a really long time ago, we are promised freedom from Sin, Death, and the Devil. That’s right freedom from Sin, Death, and the Devil.
Some of you might say, Well I can buy into that humidifier thing of softening me up to be more receptive to God’s Spirit, but freedom from sin, death, and evil, come on, that’s pushing it a little too far. How can water do such great things? But remember, it is water combined with God’s promise and God don’t lie.
Sure we are going to sin, sure you and I are going to die, sure you are going to be surrounded by the work of the devil, but you don’t have to be enslaved to it. Through the waters of baptism you can and will be set free.
Let me once again try and explain. I can’t tell you how many times I have done things that are so wrong. One of my favorite passages of the Bible comes from the writing of Paul to Romans where he says, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
When you return to the waters of baptism all your sins of the past are washed clean, gone, forgotten by your Lord.
Now you are truly free from the guilt and anguish that burdens our hearts and soul. Now you are truly free to begin a new day in service of the Lord and in service of others. And in the next day when once again you fall short of the Glory of God, go right back to the waters of the promise made you so many years ago.
Second, You all know that you are also going to die someday. Just this past week I thought it might be sooner than later. But once again when I return to promise of God through those simple waters I am made to believe that death will not hold me.
I will be resurrected just like my Lord and Savior, resting in the arms of Jesus forever, and the prophecy of Hosea is fulfilled, “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”