Matins Devotion: September 25, 2023
Baptism is for those who want to be baptized. That doesn’t sound like the most brilliant insight in the world, I recognize. But it’s very much the heart of Matthew 3. Why does John the Baptist rebuke the Pharisees and Sadducees when they seek baptism from him? Because they want a spectacle. They want a trend. They want to take part in his movement, most likely, so they can take over his movement. But they don’t actually want baptism. They don’t want their sins washed away because they don’t believe they’re sinners.
Contrast this with Christ who legitimately has no sin but wants to wash in the waters of forgiveness. Why? Because he wants to be baptized. He wants to go into those waters to fulfill all righteousness. He wants to fill those waters with His righteousness. He wants to fill those waters with the fire and the Holy Spirit so that John’s baptism finds its completion. Jesus wants to be baptized so that we can find His death and resurrection in the waters of our baptism.
And so, even though you are not like Jesus, be like Jesus. Even though you are like the Pharisees and Sadducees, don’t be like the Pharisees and Sadducees. When you look at the waters of baptism, don’t see an empty ritual that you can transform into a tool for self-glorification. See baptism as it is–the sacrament where God made you His own. See baptism as the river of life where God has washed away your sins and clothed you in the righteousness of Jesus Christ that grants you eternal life.
Every day of your life, as you grieve over the sins that you have caked onto your flesh, desire to be baptized, to receive the cleansing of Christ. And then rejoice to know that because you have been baptized, you always are baptized. The waters of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit that you once received you always receive through faith. They never wash off of you, which means the voice of God the Father is always singing about you, “this is my beloved son with whom I am well pleased.”