Archive for January 13th, 2019

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“ The Holy Spirit appears in the lovely form of an innocent dove. Among all birds, a dove is known for its gentle nature, peaceful and not aggressive. So the Holy Spirit reveals himself in the friendliest of forms to show that he is not wrathful toward us, but wants to help us become holy and rescue us through Christ.”

“Heaven which before was closed, is opened by Christ’s baptism and a window and door now stand open for us to see through. No longer is there a barrier between God and us, since God himself descends at the Jordan. The Father lets his voice be heard, the Son sanctifies baptism with his body, and the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove. Is this not a great manifestation, a truly great sign of how very precious baptism is to God, that he does not abstain from it?” 

“Who would not execrate an unthankful and joyless person who is unwilling to take to his heart the Son who here stands at the Jordan and lets himself be baptized as a sinner? The one upon whom the Spirit lights in the form of a dove? and the Father’s voice in closest proximity? No doubt there were also countless holy angels present. For where the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit reveal themselves, all the heavenly host must also be present. This was the ultimate manifestation.

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“These are things a person ought to learn well, so that the word is not separated from baptism, or from the water with which one baptizes, but we confess that it is ordained of God to cleanse us for Christ’s sake from sin and save us from eternal death. What else is there that God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit desire? Each and every sinner needs baptism, so that his sin might be washed away; whoever is in death needs baptism that death might be swallowed up, for baptism has God-given power to cleanse from sin and to bury death.

“Upon this we are baptized; and even though we have fallen into sin and have done wickedness, yet will our baptism and its promises remain firm and sure. Only, we need to repent and not persist in sinning. For these two things are mutually exclusive: to yearn for forgiveness and then cling to our sins and refuse to leave them. We need to repent and say in true faith, God has plunged me into the baptism of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; to him I return, and I trust that my sins are taken away, not for my sake or any other creature’s, but for the sake of the man, Christ, who commanded and ordained baptism and let himself be baptized as a sinner.

Quotes from Dr. Luther’s Epiphany House Postil, Third Sermon, 1534, Text: St. Matthew 3: 13-17, Sermons of Martin Luther: The House Postils, volume 1, published 1996; editor, Eugene F. A. Klug

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