Baptism Changes Everything:2
January 11, 2016 by eneubauer
This Sunday we celebrated the Baptism of the Lord and took the Gospel reading from St. Luke 3:15-17, 21-22. I am prayerful that we will shake the familiarity of this passage from our hearts and minds in order to be open to what God is saying. I have found that familiarity can breed mental disconnect. When we disconnect we miss out on the depth of what is being said though the Gospel, the depth of the story line and the lessons to be learned and applied.
Luke 3:15-16; 21-22
 As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ,  John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:15-16 ESV)
 Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,  and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:21-22 ESV)
An Expectant Heart: It changes you
People were looking at John and wondering if he was the one they had been waiting for. The story of Messiah had been told and retold for generations hence those at the Jordan River observing John baptizing thought to themselves, “Could we be the generation to see Messiah with our own eyes?” John, experiencing the tangible sense of expectation clears the air, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
In one fail swoop John reveals amazing news. That Messiah was coming and will baptize us with the Holy Spirit and fire. The excitement was palpable among those watching John and wondering. In this moment I think we should ask ourselves some questions. First, are we eagerly awaiting the coming of Christ? Are we equally excited about the fact that He is present among us through Holy Spirit? In light of these truths are we honoring Christ in the life we live today? Finally, do our words, actions and even goals align with the fact that He is present now and coming again at the end of time? How is the sense of expectation shaping us?
Recently my mother came for a visit. We were excited for her arrival, even expectant and prepared our home, schedule, menu etc. accordingly. Most folks I know prepare their homes well for the arrival of an important guest and the guest can sense it. That being said, how much more should we be preparing our entire lives to reflect our anticipation that Christ is both among us (via the Holy Spirit) and will come again. Again, how is the sense of expectation shaping us?
Baptismal Promises: A new creature in Christ
Let me just say that baptism is a game changer. Jesus leads us into this specific act by submitting Himself to this wonderful sacrament of renewal. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that, “Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte a ‘new creature,’ an adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature,’ member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit (1265).
Baptism literally transforms and saves us from condemnation because of sin. Baptism brings us fully into the Body of Christ as adopted son’s and daughter’s of God. However, we have not been saved from something as much as we have been saved for something.
Saved and renewed to become a saint! A carrier of Christ’s message into every aspect of our world. Baptism both changes and equips. The Holy Spirit is given so that He might strengthen the baptized for the life that lies ahead. This is why we never give up or stop praying for those who “fall away.” God has a plan and its beginnings can be discovered by reading and rereading Luke 3:15-22. If these facts don’t make us stop and evaluate our journey towards Christ nothing will. Baptism changes everything!
God was “pleased” to send us His Son – Jesus:
This is exactly why we place so much emphasis on following Jesus, listening for / to Jesus and making Him the central figure of our lives? We need to look no further then Luke 3:22b when it states, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” The Father sends the Son to and for us. The Father confirms His will for Jesus’ purpose / public ministry which begins soon after His baptism and wilderness journey.
The Father is pleased! This statement gives us confidence to follow after Jesus example. As Jesus leads by example we are to follow His example. Allowing the life of Christ to shape our lives with confidence that He provides the necessary tools to accomplish His will. God is calling us to follow the Son.
Today, ahead of Lent and before Easter take a moment and consider renewing your baptismal vows, recommitting yourself to follow Jesus. He is here and invites us to join Him on the journey.
Eric, I’d just like to add one thing to what Baptism is. I believe that Baptism is also an Act of Faith by those receiving it and by those bringing their infants to it. It is faith that Christ, the Son of God lived and does exist and that God the Father is our Father. It is a desire to be children of God and to accept the wisdom of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We promise to seek Him in all things and to attempt to live that faith that profess and that we seek in Baptism.
Well said Raylene