06 March 2008

Back to the Place of Baptism

For the Fifth Friday in Lent (St. John 10:31-42)

You do not deny that Jesus is the Son of God, and you would not dream of picking up stones to throw at Him and kill Him. By your Baptism into Christ, by His Word and Holy Spirit, you believe in Him, and you confess Him to be the Lord, your God and Savior.

But take to heart, especially, that He, being God, has been sanctified and sent by the Father to become true Man, your Brother in the flesh. He has come down from heaven to do the works of God the Father here on earth: with human words and bodily means of grace.

Look, then, where He is staying: It is at the place of Baptism, that is, within the Church on earth; in the preaching of repentance for the forgiveness of sins; and in the Supper of the Lamb (the One who has been slain for you). That is where you go to Him, to be with Him.

Don't look for your Savior and your God "up there," as though you could peer into heaven and scale such heights on your own. And don't try to lay hold of Him, whether for evil or for good, by any power or wisdom of yours. You won't find Him that way; nor will you catch Him in your grasp.

Do not ever suppose that you have outgrown the benefits and significance of Holy Baptism; nor think that you now need something more and better than the same ol' same ol' means of grace. That's exactly where Jesus is for you. That's where He remains. That's where you'll find Him, because that's where and how He finds you. That's where and how you come to believe in Him and live in Him, both now and forever.

Repent of your desire and tendency to wander off and look for other gods (of whatever name or sort). Return with all your heart and soul, your body, mind and strength to the place of Baptism, to the Church on earth. The Son of God has come from the Father to work His works among you, and for you, precisely here.

It is precisely in His human flesh and blood — in the waters of the Jordan, and in His Crucifixion — that God the Father has sanctified His Son, with His Holy Spirit, to be your Savior. And it is still with the flesh and blood of Christ, and by the Word of Jesus Christ, the Crucified One, that His Father sanctifies you with the same Holy Spirit, unto the life everlasting.

This is the good work that Christ your Savior does for you. His Word has come to you, and remains with you, for the forgiveness of all your sins. And in the waters of your Holy Baptism, He has made of you a son of God by grace. His Father is your Father; and the Holy Triune God, who has named you with His own Name, lives in you, and you in Him, forever.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

1 comment:

Zachary said...

Thank God for the precious gifts of the sacraments!

I have been lamenting lately that so many of my friends neglect, ignore, or deny them...