Baptism can seem ordinary. Most baptisms don’t include much glitz or obvious dramatic power, as we might expect with miracles.
But in every baptism the beauty and grace of the holy Trinity is fully present. In each event we hear the Father’s voice over a beloved child issuing a new decree of adoption, saying, in effect, “This one too is received into my family.” In each event the Spirit of peace and wholeness descends to gives an ordinary human grace. Through his baptism Jesus accepts sinners. No one is too far gone. No one is out of his reach, shamed, or singled out.
The fascinating Reformation leader Martin Luther said that every morning Christians should wake up and remind themselves, “I am baptized!” It’s no wonder he also added, “Practically all the Scriptures point to the baptism of Christ.”
John the Baptist wanted Jesus’ ministry to feature fire and judgment. And there is some of that—mostly aimed at self-righteous religious people. But most of Jesus’ ministry is far different from what John or any of us might imagine. The Holy Spirit comes—as a dove. What a contrast to our own condemning assessments of people around us. In baptism, in his kind words to sinners, Jesus claims us as his own and brings us home.
Lord, we want to see you. And often we want to see you in power and majesty and strength. Help us to look for you in gentleness and humility. In your name we pray. Amen.
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