“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.’ ” — Matt. 3:13-17
During this Epiphany season, we see that Jesus — who was born of Mary — is indeed the Christ, the Son of God. The word Epiphany actually means revealing, and the verses from Matthew 3 certainly reveal Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, who came to redeem us from our sins.
Jesus was not in need of forgiveness, but John and all others who came to Him were. By submitting to Baptism, Jesus identified Himself and His ministry as bringing the grace of God to fruition. Jesus was Baptized to fulfill God’s promise of redemption for all those who enter the waters of Baptism. In Baptism, we are united with Jesus so that we share in His righteousness. Jesus did not enter the waters of Baptism for His own redemption, but to identify with us, so that we may come to know Him. Through His submission to the will of God, we receive the grace of God for our redemption.
The message that we receive in Epiphany is that through our Baptism, we receive the grace of God in Jesus, who submitted to the will of God, even in giving His life on the cross for our redemption. Matthew shows that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God who dedicates His life to bringing God’s kingdom and righteousness.
Luther proclaimed that as Christians, we should daily remember our Baptism and repent of our sins, seeking God’s forgiveness. Our Baptism assures us of the grace and presence of God in our lives as we face whatever comes our way. Our Baptism assures us that Christ identifies with us and walks with us on our life’s journey.
As we daily recall our Baptism, we submit to the will of God in our lives. Through His grace, we are embraced by Him as His child. May you always live as a redeemed child of God.