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The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Institute of Lutheran theology not only provides programs to train pastors and teachers, but it also provides educational and devotional resources for individuals and congregations. These resources are provided free of charge and made available through our web page. Please subscribe to and use any of these resources.

The Baptism of Our Lord

The Baptism of Our Lord

Matthew 3:13-17

“But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented” (Mt. 3:15). 

Jesus’ words to John are as startling to us as Jesus’ words to Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (Jn. 3:3) which startled Nicodemus into proposing an impossibility, “Can a man enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (Jn. 3:4).  “Baptism fulfills all righteousness.”  C’mon, Jesus, surely you can’t mean “all righteousness,” can you?  What will we do with all that talk of baptism initiating us into walking the walk?  What will we do with all that talk of progressive sanctification?  What will we do with all our expectations of engaging in religious quests… of improving our discipleship… or with that old slogan, “Every day, in every way, a little better and better?”  Despite our protests, Jesus speaks truly.  Unlike John’s baptism and other this-worldly-washings, the baptism of Jesus and our baptism into Jesus are not of this world but of the world to come.  This next-worldly baptism is the in-breaking of the New Creation into this creation, old and passing away as it is.  This next-worldly baptism establishes the one baptized in the complete, total, and entirely fulfilled the righteousness of the New Creation.  Baptism fulfilling all righteousness receives ratification from God himself.  God announces over Jesus, “This is my Son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  At your baptism, God announces through the mouth of the preacher, “You, child of God, you have been marked by the cross of Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit forever” (LBW p. 124).  Baptism fulfills all righteousness.

Prayers from one who, despite being baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, still covets quests for religious and divinely assisted self-improvement.

Heavenly Father, the words you and your Son speak are true.  Grant that I rest in their truth and not exhaust myself in vain attempts to fulfill all righteousness with my human works no matter how divinely aided they may be.  For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, the words you and your Son speak are true.  Grant that their truth brings to me the condemnation of the law that I might truly die to sin.  Grant that their truth delivers me out of that death to enjoy Jesus Christ who has come to be my life.  For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, the words you and your Son speak are true.  Set before me the days of my baptism that I might be returned to its fulfillment of all righteousness as I confess my sins and receive absolution in the name of Jesus Christ.   For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, the words you and your Son speak are true.  Since all righteousness has been fulfilled for me as I have been joined to both the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus, set before me the needs of my neighbors that I might be of some use to them as I go about my daily callings.  For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, the words you and your Son speak are true.  Grant that I live out the days of my baptismal righteousness without being enticed to use my neighbors to prove my righteousness.  Rather, let me be used by them in the providing of their daily bread.  For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, the words you and your Son speak are true.  Grant that the Institute of Lutheran Theology teach and preach their living in such truth to all the students who come to it.  For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer.

Heavenly Father, the words you and your Son speak are true.  Grant that I wait for your Son’s coming in glory with the sure and certain hope provided by a God who does not lie.  For Jesus’ sake, hear my prayer.  Amen

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