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God’s Word for You

Mark 1:9-11 The baptism of our Lord

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, June 19, 2021

John Baptizes Jesus
9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love. I am well pleased with you.”

None of the Gospels give us any details about what John said as he baptized Jesus. But there is no doubt but that John baptized in the name of God, just as in Acts the Apostles consistently baptize in the name of Jesus (Acts 2:38, 8:12, 10:48). The question we want to ask of this passage is, why did Jesus allow himself to be baptized? There is no law in baptism, no requirement to fulfill. Therefore Jesus did not “obey” baptism any more than anyone else obeys anything when they undergo this bath. We are baptized to receive God’s grace.

Baptism is no mere formality, nor did Jesus receive it to forgive any of his sins, since God himself is sinless. Why then did Jesus receive this gracious sacrament? It was to enter into his office as our Savior. And by being baptized, Jesus connected himself with all of us who are baptized into his name. He took on our flesh at his incarnation and he took up our sins at his baptism, and he carried them from this point to the cross.

All three Persons of the Trinity appear here at the Lord’s baptism. The concept and doctrine of the Trinity is called a secret in the Scriptures. “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Matthew 11:27). After Peter declared his faith in Jesus as the Son of God, the Lord declared: “This was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). And again: “No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known” (John 1:18). So although we like to make comparisons in nature to illustrate the Trinity, we should never let our illustrations teach us the role of the Persons of the Trinity. We might try to explain what “three yet one” means with iron, or love, or a shamrock, or other things, but these don’t show us what the Persons do. Each of the three Persons points to Jesus as the Savior, as especially the Father does with his words here in our passage.

Your baptism joins you to Jesus; you are baptized “into his death” (Romans 6:3). The crucifixion of Jesus is the key teaching in Scripture; the moment of our forgiveness and our transformation from a fallen race to saved children of God. Focus your attention on the cross of Jesus and his empty tomb, and let all your praise of God radiate outward from there. In Jesus we have everlasting life.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.


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