Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Am Baptized

This Sunday we will celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, and in preparing for that day, I again found great comfort. Let's face it, nobody's perfect. What is more, sometimes the Christmas season, for all the joy that is supposedly to accompany it, can also bring with it an overwhelming fatigue. While it is to be about the birth of our Savior, the societal and worldly influences can take and ungodly turn even in the most devote Christians.

As my own sinfulness weighed heavy on my thoughts, I found comfort in Sunday's Gospel.

Let me explain:

Jesus came to the Jordan to be baptized by John the Baptizer, who was proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. When Jesus came to him, John said, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" To this, esus responded, "Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting to fulfill all righteousness."

What could this mean? Jesus was without sin, there was no reason for Him to come to John for the forgiveness of sin.

Jesus came to John to be baptized into all sin and death, to fulfill all righteousness for all mankind. Conceived in human flesh, Incarnate God is baptized into us, and lives that life we are unable to live. He is perfect in thought, word and deed. He loves without question or reservation. His Father's will is His greatest joy, even when it means He must suffer the agony of betrayal, arrest, physical torture, crucifixion, and death. Three days later, He is raised by the Father's glory to give us new life.

What a joy it is, to know that Christ was baptized for me. For it means that I also am baptized into Him. I am baptized into His death and His resurrection. I am baptized into His fulfilled righteousness.

When I feel the guilt of my sins weighing heavy upon me (and I indeed did), I can say with all joy and gladness that there is nothing for me to feel guilty about. Christ was baptized to fulfill all righteousness for me. And as for me? I am baptized! I am in Christ a new creation!

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