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Luke 3:7-14


He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
 
And the crowds asked him, "What then shall we do?" And he answered them, "Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise." Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Collect no more than you are authorized to do." Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages." (ESV)
Baptismal Flood
Thursday in Lent 2
25 February 2016
The new era was inaugurated at the baptism of Jesus by John in the Jordan. The Old Testament was now swept away by the baptismal flood and the New Testament arose from the cleansing tide. The gospel now overcomes the law by washing the transgressions it shows away through Jordan's valley into the Dead Sea in which nothing survives.
 
Great and wondrous signs accompany the arrival of the new era. The Holy Trinity is revealed over the waters making baptism a giving of the Thrice-Named. The dove descends upon the head of the Messiah. The voice of the Father gives His imprimatur to the Son whose eternal call now becomes a public matter. Here is the beloved Son, who will make all people beloved sons of God. This person, Christ, is the salvation of all persons. There are no distinctions here. All human distinctions are things of law, which now is drowned in the sea of death downstream. All alike are under the grace of this Christ.

 

Martin Luther

"John had to precede the Lord Christ, when Christ had John baptize Him before He began His ministry of preaching and performing miracles. When the divine majesty manifested Himself over Him during His Baptism in the Jordan, this showed that He had not only an inner and private call into the office with which He had been invested before the foundation of the world but also a public and a visible call. The eternal Father made Himself known on that occasion with the words: 'This is my beloved Son' (Mt 3:17). The Son was standing in the water, and the Holy Spirit descended in the physical form of a dove, alighting on Him.
 
"This was to usher in a great and remarkable transformation, not unlike the transformation of the old world into a new one through the Flood. For the law, the Jewish priesthood, and the kingdom were to be abolished; and a new world was to be established through the gospel. Henceforth not only the Jews but all the nations on the face of the earth were to be people of God and were to be known as such. John was to initiate this new regime. God gave him command and office to preach and to baptize, as Luke the Evangelist relates at length (Lk 3:1-20): when the Word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zachariah, then the change came. The Old Testament ends and the New begins with John. He no longer preaches the law of Moses; he proclaims the grace which is to come through Christ. And soon he began to baptize on the basis of this grace."
 
Martin Luther, Sermons on John. 1.6
 
Prayer
Lord Christ, You have placed all alike under Your grace. Help me to tell the story of Your adoption of me by baptism, that others who know not your grace might be drawn into the community of grace. Amen.
 
For the Lutheran Graduate School of Theology (SALT) of Madagascar that God would cause it to grow and thrive so that the voice of confessional Lutheranism would continue flourish there

For Kevin and Heather Faske, celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary, that the Lord Jesus would give them ever more blessings in their life together
 
For all those who will hear the proclamation of the Father in divine services, that they too would know that they are beloved sons through Christ the Son

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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