Grace, mercy, and peace be
unto you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
It was first recorded by Matthew
in the language of the Greeks, reading eis to onoma tou patros kai tou uiou kai tou agiou pneumatos. Of course it was translated later
on in Latin, the language of the Holy Roman Empire, and it sounded like
this: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. And then
Luther translated the Greek and the Hebrew into German, and it sounded
like this: Im Namen des Vaters und des Sohnes und des Heiligen Geistes.
And now we say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”
I could not have asked for
a better object lesson than the baptism of Hayden this morning for that
is the very words that you heard poured over him by God’s Holy Spirit, working
through that Word and water together to present to him Christ Jesus,
not a spiritual abstract thing, but fleshly Christ Jesus, for he is
flesh, that is Hayden, and his Lord is flesh, and they too shall both
live forever in flesh in heaven.
We are marked by that same
name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And having been marked by that name,
we are reminded that it is God Father who has created us, and Him alone.
Not by evolution or any other thing. It is God’s Son who has redeemed
us. It is God’s Holy Spirit that has sanctified us and has poured out
upon us the gifts of faith. And it is the triune God who alone has revealed
Himself to us only, only in God in the flesh, Jesus, not in the
sunrises and sunsets, or the amazing miraculous birth of a child, but
only in Christ Jesus who is God in the flesh.
Peter makes this very clear
in his sermon from the second reading from the book of Acts. It’s a
preacher’s dream. Three thousand brought from death to life. Three thousand
hearts that were dead and damned brought to life and saved by God’s Holy
Spirit working through that preached Word. And can you imagine how long
that baptismal service of 3,000 people would have lasted? A far cry
longer than our service this morning, I grant you that very quickly.
Peter reminded the people…and
these were the same people in Jerusalem that had heard about Jesus, that
may have caught a glimpse of Him, that had seen possibly one of His miracles.
Changing water into wine, or maybe the healing of the man let down through
the ceiling. The raising of Jairus’ daughter. The widow’s son at Nain
maybe raised from the dead.
He reminded them that this
God in the flesh was attested to you all by fulfilling the prophecies
made about Him hundreds of years, if not thousands, before He ever was
born by the prophets, by the psalmists, saying to them there would be
this One who would die. There would be this One who would be raised
from the dead, and this One would be God in the flesh.
Notice what he says. He was
attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs
that God did through Him. He was delivered up according
to God’s plan, not because He got caught, but because He willingly
went in obedience to the Father’s will for your flesh to be raised from
the dead, to endure the pangs of hell, and to be raised from the dead
in flesh that your flesh may dwell secure as was proclaimed about Him
by the psalmist. God raised Him up, loosing the pangs of death,
because it was not possible for Him to be held by it.
David the psalmist wrote this:
“My flesh will also dwell in hope. You will not abandon your Holy One to hell and you will not let your Holy One see corruption.” If it applied
to your Lord and you were baptized into that Lord, it applies to you.
There is no spiritual poppycock
or falderal going on here. This is fleshly Christianity, not abstract
concepts. Yes, abstract concepts are used to explain the mystery that’s
found there, but the mystery you witnessed this morning with your own
fleshly eyes to a fleshly child, brought from death to life, brought
from kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God, and eternally brought as
a brother in Christ who cannot even say to you, “I believe in Jesus,”
and yet he does. And in fact his faith is probably stronger…or less
filled with doubts would be a better way to say it…than yours and
mine because as he grows older, as you and I have grown from then, what are
we plagued with? With this flesh and this mass of material between our
ears that brings all kinds of thoughts into conflict with what God has
Peter ended it by saying, “God
has made Him…” this One who was crucified for you, and this One
who was raised for you. “God has made Him both Lord and Christ.”
But He did not make Him an abstract spiritual Lord or an abstract spiritual
Messiah. He declared that flesh and blood, that bone, that Person of
Jesus who is God and Man, to be your Lord and your Messiah.
This is the faith of the triune
God that you’ve been given. Now in the confession of the Apostles’ Creed
which we just read at Hayden’s baptism, which by the way the whole history
of the Apostles’ Creed is that it was in a sense the very simplistic
confession of faith in God Father, God Son, and God Holy Spirit.
But when we compare it to the
Nicene Creed that we speak at Communion services, it’s much longer.
And what section of that article is longer? The first one about God
the Father? A little bit, but not much. The Holy Spirit? Yeah, a little
bit more, but not much. It’s about the Son, where the triune God revealed
to you and to me Himself. “God of God, Light of Light…begotten,
not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things
were made. Who, for us and for our salvation, came down from heaven”
and became flesh because He has to redeem your soul and your flesh.
And then our Lord’s words in
the gospel reading when He makes it very clear to the Jews the religion
of which He had already been a part since the creation of the world
as the preincarnate Son who stands before them as God in the flesh says
to them, “If you honor Me, you honor the Father.” Very clearly,
“If you keep My word, you keep the Father’s word. In being joined
to Me, the Father and the Holy Spirit,” as He says so clearly,
“you will never taste or see death.”
The hardest part for you and
for me to witness is someone who was so vibrant in life, and we see
sin ravage their physical capabilities almost to the point where we
out of pride can’t look at them anymore almost because of how sin has
completely rendered them from what they were. Before a beloved saint
of our church died, many people said, “I wish you could have seen
him before.” That is how we always want it, isn’t it? I wish you
could have seen me before sin had its way.
But sin has always had its
way since Adam and Eve began. And the sin that has had its way has shown
itself so clearly in our flesh…the flesh that we look at and see change
in the mirror. The flesh that we feel. The flesh that changes. That’s
the flesh that Christ has redeemed with His flesh and blood…God’s
flesh and blood.
And the faith of which we believe
and in which Hayden has been baptized says, “This God, who revealed
Himself in Jesus Christ as God in the flesh, died in the flesh.”
That completely is illogical. And the same God who revealed Himself
in the flesh and died in the flesh is the same God who was raised from
the dead in the flesh. And it does not make sense.
When we close our eyes in death,
it will make perfect sense, and we will say, “Amen, Lord.”
And He will say, “Enter into that which I have prepared since the
foundation of the world. And enter into it not as a spirit, but as flesh
and blood person.” That is the faith of the triune God that Hayden
has been given and you have been given.
When Jesus said, “Before
Abraham, I am,” He was making the penultimate statement. Why do
you think the Jews tried to stone Him? Because He was claiming Himself
to be God, which they thought to be blasphemous, but which you and I
say, “Amen and Amen” to. Yea, yea, it shall be so, and is
Isn’t it interesting that this
One who wants to make it very clear that He is God in the flesh, dies
in the flesh, rises from the dead in the flesh, comes to you again in
the flesh, and says, “Do not labor for the food that perishes,
but for the food that endures to eternal life which the Son of Man will
give you, for on Him the Father has set His seal.” In the name of the
Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
The peace of God which passes
all understanding keep your hearts and minds on Christ Jesus to life