Skip to comments.The Bountiful Blessings of Baptism - A Homily for the Baptism of the Lord
Posted on 01/12/2020 10:48:21 AM PST by Salvation
Todays feast of the Baptism of the Lord is a moment to reflect not only on the Lords baptism, but also on our own. For in an extended sense, when Christ is baptized, so are we, for we are members of his body. As Christ enters the water, he makes holy the water that will baptize us. He enters the water and we who are members of his Body go with him. And in these waters he acquires gifts to give us, as we shall see below.
Lets examine this text in three stages:
1. The Fraternity of Baptism The text says Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?”
John is surely puzzled about Jesus requesting baptism. And likely so are we. Why? John’s baptism of repentance presumes the presence of sin. But the scriptures are clear, Jesus had no sin.
So why does Jesus ask for baptism? He will answer this in a moment.
But first lets consider this dramatic fact: Jesus identifies with sinners, even if he never sinned. As he comes to the riverside he has no ego concerns. He is not embarrassed or ashamed that some might think him a sinner even though he was not. It is a remarkable humiliation he accepts to be found in the company of sinners like us, and even to be seen as one of us. He freely enters the waters and, to any outsider who knew him not, he would simply be numbered among the sinners, which he was not.
Consider how amazing this is. The Scripture says He is not ashamed to call us his Brethren (Heb 2:11). It also says God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21).
Jesus ate with sinners to the scandal of many of the religious leaders: -This man welcomes sinners and eats with them! (Lk 15:2). Jesus was known as a friend of sinners, had pity on the woman caught in adultery, allowed a sinful woman to touch him and anoint his feet. He cast out demons and fought for sinners. He suffered and died for sinners in the way reserved for the worst criminals. He was crucified between two thieves and He was assigned a grave among the wicked (Is 53).
Praise God, Jesus is not ashamed to be found in our presence and to share a brotherhood with us. There is a great shedding of his glory in doing this. Again, Scripture says, [Jesus], being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself (Phil 1:3)
2. The Fulfillment of Baptism The text says: Jesus said to [John] in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him.
The Fathers of the Church are of varying opinions as exactly what Christ means by fulfilling all righteousness.
From another perspective, the word “righteousness” refers, biblically, to Gods fidelity to his promises. Thus, is this sense, Jesus would mean that his baptism would be the sign of the fulfillment of Gods righteous promise of salvation. God had promised this and God is faithful to his promises. Jesus’ baptism indicates this. How?
St. Maximus of Turin speaks of the Old Testament prefigurement of baptism at the Red sea and then shows how Christ fulfills it:
I understand the mystery as this. The column of fire went before the sons of Israel through the Red Sea so that they could follow on their brave journey; the column went first through the waters to prepare a path for those who followed……But Christ the Lord does all these things: in the column of fire He went through the sea before the sons of Israel; so now in the column of his body he goes through baptism before the Christian people .At the time of the Exodus the column…made a pathway through the waters; now it strengthens the footsteps of faith in the bath of baptism. (de sancta Epiphania 1.3)
So what God promised in the in the Old Testament by way of prefigurement he now fulfils in Christ. They were delivered from the slavery of Egypt as the column led them through the waters. But more wonderfully, we are delivered from the slavery to sin as the column of Christs body leads us through the waters of baptism. Gods righteousness is his fidelity to his promises. Hence Jesus says, in his baptism and all it signifies (his death and resurrection) he has come to fulfill all righteous and he thus fulfills the promises made by God at the Red Sea and throughout the Old Testament.
3. The Four Gifts of Baptism – The Text says, After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.“
Eph 5:30 says we are members of Christs body. Thus when Jesus goes into the water we go with him. And in going there he acquires four gifts on our behalf as this text sets them forth. Lets look at the four gifts he acquires on our behalf:
Thus, at his Baptism, Christ acquired these gifts for us so that our own Baptism we could receive them. Consider well the glorious gift of your Baptism. Perhaps you know the exact day. It should be a day as highly celebrated as your birthday. Christ is baptized for our sakes, not his own. All these gifts had always been his. Now, in his baptism he fulfills God’s righteousness by going into the water to get them for you. It’s alright to say, “Hallelujah!”
Monsignor Pope Ping!
Thank-you and God Bless.
It IS the final day of the Christmas season--my favorite season of the year!
Does baptism remove original sin? A few years ago I heard a priest say that the Church no longer emphasizes that because it’s too misunderstood... and the importance of baptism is it’s a rite of initiation, a welcome to the Christian community.
**Does baptism remove original sin?**
The thief on the cross says what????
Thanks for clarifying!
Another thing is that Protestants have no idea of true Baptism.
1. Baptism with water and the spirit
2. Baptism of blood — martyrdom
3. Baptism of desire — the good thief is an excellent example of this.
May Christ help us educate them.
Now which Baptism is the ONE BAPTISM that Paul spoke of in Ephesians? He said there was ONE BAPTISM in this dispensation, not two or several..
Since Paul was commissioned by the RISEN CHRIST as the Apostle to the Gentiles and the Gospel of the GRACE of God was given to him to preach for the formation of the Body if Christ, it would seem paramount that anyone interested in being part of that Body would know about the ONE BAPTISM he proclaimed
And we know,too. Because He told us. In His word. It’s right there. Paul wrote all about it. Do you ever study or even read Paul’s writings which were given to him by God for us?
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