“THE WATERY WORD”
Saint Mark 1. 4-11
The Baptism of our Lord: 11 January Anno + Domini 2015
Fr Jay Watson SSP
In The Name + of Jesus
Jesus did not need to be baptized. Jesus is God. Mary’s true Son is the Son of The Father, begotten not made. The one Who approached John in the wilderness made the universe and was there to begin reclaiming the desert that your sin created.
Jesus is sinless, the perfect unblemished Paschal Lamb. There was no defect or stain to be washed off His immaculate Body. There was no trespass for Christ to repent of. Then why His baptism?
The Lord was baptized for you. He was washed for you for the same reason He was crucified for you. You are sinners overflowing from sinful hearts/natures in daily treasons against both God and your neighbor. You need the sin washed off from your body. You need the dead enemy heart in your blackened corpse brought back to life. You need to be rescued from the prison house of death and the devil and given freedom, family, and adoption.
You should be punished with death and damnation…with crucifixion of yourselves.
But Christ was your substitute sacrifice. Jesus died on the tree in your place. Now with faith given you by The Spirit, you can daily crucify your “old Adam” with contrition and repentance. But your life of repentance and faith did not begin at the rail in Holy Communion, or in the nave during corporate confession and absolution, or, even at Calvary…in the sense that you were not at Calvary. Your new life of repentance and faith began at the Baptismal Font. In the eight-sided womb of Holy Mother Church you were birthed in Christ; bathed and scrubbed in His Blood and His pure regenerative Water. You were washed in three handfuls of water that were not just simple water, but “…water comprehended in God’s command and connected with God’s word.” [SC 4.1]
God gives you in the outpouring of the Sacrament of Holy Baptism what He put into the water by the very Word of God made Flesh when He stepped into the sewer of the Jordan.
The Spirit constrained “all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him [John] in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”
All those sinners, in that water, and John in light of the coming atonement of His Kinsman, washed their sins away into the swirling current. God “cleansed” Israel when they crossed the Red Sea. The Lord delivered them by way of crashing waves destroying Pharaoh’s host. So too the Jews at John’s Baptism were saved from sin and death and also crossed over Jordan to God’s Kingdom of Grace.
And then Messiah is in their midst. Jesus steps into the flood and has all of their sins washed on to Him, washed on to His Body to begin carrying them. His Law keeping obeyed the Commandments, and also carried the disobedience of that large crowd, and this smaller crowd, all the way to the cross.
Your new baptized life produces new men and women. Your cleansing creates clean new creatures that by the power of The Holy Ghost confess your sins daily and do in fact repent and fight the good fight of faith. Your adoption of sons, whereby you cry out Abba, Father, is not an indolent and slothful relationship but an active walk of obedience and change in attitude. You are Christ’s brethren. You have been “Christened” in the fonts bloody bath…you are “little Christs” and by Spirit you do seek to live a life worthy of your new Name and new Imputed Image…Father, Son + and Holy Ghost…the Name of Jesus!
Baptism is “for you” because Jesus is for you. He wants to cover you with His robes and wants to be in, with, and “for you” in the Water from His blessed side, His sacred heart. Without Jesus you die and are damned. Without His atoning Sacrifice covering and cleansing your sins you die and are damned. Without the faith which He gives you to grasp His flesh, His blood, His Water, and His person and work, you die and are damned.
Jesus saves and He saves you in Holy + Baptism.
“Christ, our Lord, says in the last chapter of Matthew: ‘Go ye and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of The Holy Ghost.’” [SC 4.1b] It His desire for you wild and hitherto dead lifeless branches to be so grafted into Him the living vine, in this humble Sacrament, which He gives to all nations…including infant and newborn nations as well as the entire family of Philippian jailers.
What did Jesus’ own Baptism profit? What did it profit Him? He joyously did His Father’s will to fulfill all righteousness. He heard His Father’s voice of love that day and saw the descent of the Paraclete.
He began finding His lost sheep and reclaiming His lost prodigals. The family began to be rebuilt that day…this day…for every day is a day of your + Baptisms.
“But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Ghost, as St. Paul says, Titus, chapter third: [according to His mercy He saved us] by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, that, being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying.” [SC 4.3]
In The Name of The Father and of The + Son and of The Holy Ghost