The first Sunday in the Epiphany season January 13, 2019) brings us to the banks of the Jordan River to witness Jesus' baptism by John. Jesus' baptism offers a compelling testimony about the significance of our baptism. It urges us to celebrate, "I am baptized." This devotion is written by C.F.W. Walther.
Baptism: a reason for joy
Should the Christian stand all day long at the grave of all joys which he enjoyed in past years?
Through Holy Baptism a great stream of joy has been conducted in his heart, which does not drain away, but streams forward with his life until its waves carry him into the sea of a blessed eternity.
Should the Christian be reminded all day long that the flowers of his youth fall more and more? He stands planted by God in the water of his Baptism as a palm tree which becomes greener and greener and whose leaves never wither.
Yes, his Baptism makes death for him like a short winter’s nap, out of which an eternal spring—an eternal youth—follows.
Baptism: a continuous washing
For Baptism is a bath that washed me not only once when I received it—washed me pure with Christ’s blood—but it continuously washes me clean even daily for as long as I hold it in faith.
For just as that same water of the flood drowned the sinners, but Noah with his relatives were brought to salvation and carried to Mount Ararat, so also did the water of my Baptism drown my sins, but my soul was brought to the eternal mountain of divine grace.
And just as once those same waves of the Red Sea, which swallowed up Pharaoh and his army, were a protective wall for Israel, so also has my baptismal water swallowed up all of my damnation and is for me a sure wall before God’s wrath and punishment.…
Baptism: a present reality
Now then, all of you who believe in God’s Word, let your watchword for entering the new year be this: “I am baptized!”
Although the world may laugh at this comfort, the enthusiasts vex its confidence … nevertheless, abandon any other dearly held pledges and speak only throughout the entire year to come, in all terrors of conscience and necessity through sin and death: “I am baptized! I am baptized! Hallelujah!”
And you shall prevail! In every time of need, you will find comfort in your Baptism; on account of it Satan will flee from your faith and confession; and in death you will see heaven opened and will finally come into the joy of your Lord to celebrate a great year of jubilee, a year of praise, with all the angels forever and ever. Amen!
Source: Carl Ferdinand Wilhelm Walther (October 25, 1811 – May 7, 1887) was the first President of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod and its most influential theologian. He has been described as a man who sacrificed his homeland, his health, and nearly his life for the freedom to speak freely, to believe freely, and to live freely. He was dedicated to his Church and the faith for those he loved.