January 9, 2022

What Our Baptism Really Means

Passage: Isaiah 43:1-7, Luke 3:15-22

There is a heavenly voice, and the Holy Spirit descends. It says that heaven is breaking open and the voice of God, known only indirectly through scripture and the words of the prophets of God, has now become explicit and unmistakable. Bystanders can actually see the Holy Spirit.

It’s as if at Jesus’s baptism, a baptism performed by the preacher John the Baptist is taken over by the Holy Spirit who settles upon the body of Jesus, designating him explicitly as the one in whom God the Father delights.

With the voice as a sign, the baptism of Jesus becomes a story of vocation. From the heaven, a voice calls out proclaiming the identity of Jesus: this is God’s Son. It is a Christian claim that, in some degree, every baptism is a public pronouncement of vocation. When we are baptized, the church voices the claim that the person being baptized is being adopted, enlisted, commissioned as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

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