Scripture: Luke 3:15-22
Key verses: (21-22) Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”
Reflection: I am baptized! Apparently Martin Luther would say “I am baptized!” whenever he faced distress or anxiety. When he was translating the Greek Bible into German, he secluded himself in a castle to do that work and occasionally he could be heard throughout the castle grounds yelling “I am baptized!”
We are tempted to reduce baptism to a sweet ritual typically reserved for cherubic infants. We pick the baptismal gown or we hope the baby fits into the historic family gown. We hope the baby won’t cry or fuss, or let loose an ill-timed gastrointestinal explosion. We plan for the family brunch and arrange for travel plans. But do we realize the power of the sacrament?
Baptism is the visible sign of God’s invisible grace. In baptism we are claimed as God’s children. We belong to God. God is steadfast and tenacious, never abandoning us or deserting us.
In Luke’s account of Jesus’ baptism, the emphasis is on the baptism of all the people. Jesus is one of the people. He is part of the community, a fellow human being. And in his baptism, he hears the voice of God proclaim that he is God’s son, the Beloved, with whom God is well pleased. Yet in the gospel story, Jesus hasn’t really done much yet. He hasn’t healed anyone. He hasn’t taught with any wisdom. God is pleased with Jesus for who he is, not for what he accomplishes. And so, God is pleased with you for who you are. You belong to God. You are baptized!
Prayer: Dear Lord, I am baptized! Thank you for your steadfast love at work in my life.
When I face struggle today and feel like giving up, remind me I am baptized!
When I encounter temptation, remind me I am baptized!
When I have questions about your mystery, remind me I am baptized!
When I am called to love my neighbors, remind me I am baptized!
When I am discouraged and hopeless, remind me I am baptized!
You are my God and I belong to you. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].