Tue. March 19

Tuesday March 19, 2019

Today’s Focus                      The Sacrament of Holy Baptism                

Today’s Scripture Reading                         Acts 8:26-40

As for Philip, an angel of the Lord said to him, “Go south[b] down the desert road that runs from Jerusalem to Gaza.” 27 So he started out, and he met the treasurer of Ethiopia, a eunuch of great authority under the Kandake, the queen of Ethiopia. The eunuch had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was now returning. Seated in his carriage, he was reading aloud from the book of the prophet Isaiah.
29 The Holy Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and walk along beside the carriage.”
30 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”
31 The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
32 The passage of Scripture he had been reading was this:
“He was led like a sheep to the slaughter.
And as a lamb is silent before the shearers,
he did not open his mouth.
33 He was humiliated and received no justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.”[c]

34 The eunuch asked Philip, “Tell me, was the prophet talking about himself or someone else?” 35 So beginning with this same Scripture, Philip told him the Good News about Jesus.
36 As they rode along, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “Look! There’s some water! Why can’t I be baptized?”[d] 38 He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him.
39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away. The eunuch never saw him again but went on his way rejoicing. 40 Meanwhile, Philip found himself farther north at the town of Azotus. He preached the Good News there and in every town along the way until he came to Caesarea.

 Daily Reflection                     Luther’s “The Sacrament of Holy Baptism”

What is Baptism?

  • Baptism is not simply plain water. Instead, it is water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s word.

What then is this word of God?

  • Where our Lord Jesus Christ says in Matthew 28 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

What gifts or benefits does baptism Grant?

  • It brings about forgiveness of sins, redeems from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe it, as the words and promise of God declare.

What are these words and promises of God?

  • Where our Lord Christ says in Mark 16, “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”

How can water do such great things?

Clearly the water does not do it, but the word of God, which is with and alongside the water, and faith, which trusts this word of God in the water.  For without the word of God the water is plain water and not a baptism, but with the word of God it is a baptism, that is, a grace-filled water of life and a “Bath of the new birth in the Holy Spirit,” as St. Paul say to Titus in chapter 3, “through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.  This Spirit He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  The saying is sure.”

What then is the significance of such a baptism with water?

            It signifies that the old person in us with all sins and evil desires to be drowned and die through daily sorrow for sin and through repentance, and on the other hand that daily a new person is to come forth and rise up to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.

Where is this written?

            St. Paul says in Romans 6, “We have been buried with Christ by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

Some questions for reflection

  • Do you suppose the fact that the person baptized in this Scripture based on where he is from and what he does is significant to your understanding of baptism?
  • Luther describes a “rebirth” occurring through baptism; how does your own understanding of baptism work when it comes to “rebirth?”
  • Do you believe there has to be any “foreknowledge” before a person is baptized?

Today’s discipleship challenge

Have a discussion with someone you care about on the topic of baptism.  Share with this person in your own words; what baptism means for you personally and why you think it is important/or not important.

 Today’s prayer

            Gracious Lord, we give You thanks that through water and the Holy Spirit You give us new birth, cleanse us from sin, and raise us to eternal life.  Sustain us with the gift of Your Holy Spirit; the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, the spirit of joy in Your presence, both now and forever.  Amen.

2 thoughts on “Tue. March 19

  1. Pastor Jerry

    I soooo enjoy baptisms! I’d like share my favorite baptism illustration here. Imagine you were at home, and there was a light in the hallway in front of your bedroom that never went out…. for me, this is what happens in baptism, the light is turned on and will never go out. Now, imagine your tired and you want to go to bed; so you close your bedroom door… the light from the hallway tries to flood into your bedroom, it comes under the door, through the cracks on the side of the door. For the purposes of this illustration, the door is like our free will. Now when we open the door, or allow God’s will to be mingled with our free will, the light from the hallway comes rushing into the darkened bedroom…. did you ever notice how the darkness is always overwhelmed by the light, the darkness can never move out into the light of the hallway. This is, for me what happens when we allow our free will to allow God’s will to occur in our lives!
    Luther suggests that we should daily be renewed in our own baptism; for me; I do this several times every day! Each time I feel frustrated with life I try to remind myself that indeed I am a child of God. Every time something wonderful happens I try to celebrate that I am a child of God. In keeping my God at the core of my daily existence and allowing myself to constantly bathe in my baptismal waters, for the most part I am able to see and experience God’s incredible and loving light on a regular basis!
    Can’t wait to hear YOUR stories surrounding baptism!

  2. Mel Olenwine

    I did put a comment here – from my phone – and apparently it never made it here…WOOPS. Anyway, it was something about how back in the day parents wanted their babies baptized right away…there was a great concern that they be baptized RIGHT AWAY. I certainly do not believe that a child who dies before they are baptized will not be carried home by God. And I know there are children who’s parents have no faith life at all, who are never officially baptized, as children, or adults, and they aren’t any less loved by God. I have seen kids at their confirmation have no real, genuine appreciation for what is happening, and I’ve seen adults choosing to be baptized where the spirit in the room was so powerful it was amazing. Baptism for me has always had profound meaning, and I take my duties as godparent to my nephews very seriously. The power isn’t in the water, it is in God. I think Kenzie’s baptism was one of the most moving baptisms I have ever witnessed. Just because of how much we had gone through to get her there finally. It was emotional for our family for many reasons. She struggles daily with her identity, having no living father and no mother to speak of. But she has a huge, loving family, and she is a CHILD of GOD.


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