“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.’”
A NEW IDENTITY IN CHRIST
These words from our reading are not unfamiliar. We hear them each year at the beginning of the Epiphany season. “Epiphany” means “to reveal publicly,” and with this reading about Jesus’ baptism, God the Father publicly reveals the true identity of this man in the water. This baptism is, in many respects, like an anointing of a Prince; the heir apparent to the throne of heaven.
But, what is perhaps even more powerful is that, each year when we look to the accounts of our Savior’s baptism, we also hear the words of Romans 6:1-11, the powerful event of our own baptism!
St. Paul’s words cause us to reflect on the truth of our identity: “So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (verse 11) We are no longer slaves to sin; we are sons and daughters of the King!
Whether we realize it or not, in a powerful way, God claimed you and me as His own in baptism. It’s not a scam! God the Father “publicly revealed” to the world that You are His child. Your baptism was a sort of anointing. We are truly princes and princesses of the heavenly kingdom!
The problem is, we tend to forget about this new identity, reverting to our old sinful selves.
Nevertheless, the same Holy Spirit who descended on Jesus in His baptism, comes to us, too! The Holy Spirit continually is working in and through us, allowing our identities in Christ to shine. Where we fail, we seek the forgiveness of our loving and gracious God and Father, knowing that in Christ our sins are forgiven—thanks be to God!
So, no matter what you are going through; no matter what comes your way today, this week, this month, or even this year—be confident in your identity in Christ.
Prayer: Thank you for making me your own. May I never forget the new identity you have given me as your child and heir. Amen
After attending the University of Washington, John Eich received his B.A. from Northwestern College in Watertown, WI. He then attended Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary in Mequon, Wi. receiving his Masters in Divinity. He was assigned to Grace Lutheran Church in Alma, MI in 1985. He also served Zion Lutheran in neighboring St. Louis, Mi. until both churches merged to become Good Shepherd Lutheran.
He serves on various district and synodical boards. He frequently writes for the synodical magazine "Forward in Christ." He has also been involved in the translation and review of the Evangelical Heritage Version of the Bible, a new translation of the Bible which is being prepared.
In 1983 he married Susan Ann Wendt who has been his best friend and help mate since. Together they raised three boys who are now living their faith in Jesus away from mom and dad.