Our scripture this morning is ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬-‭17.

Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.”

Baptism and other sacraments are sometimes spoken of as “outward signs of an inward grace”. It isn’t the act that has power but the change you allow to happen in your life. Our faith is not a one and done ceremony but a lifelong commitment to the one who made us and saved us.

Being baptized means we accept the symbolic cleansing, dying to sin and rising to a life in God. Jesus came to be baptized by John, not because He needed forgiveness for sin but because it represented a connection with God and with us. In the same way, our baptism marks that connection for us, that we are able to live new lives as the forgiven children of God and brothers and sisters in Christ.

Through baptism, we accept the relationship God offers us and the obligation of love that accompanies it. The ritual of baptism varies among different faith traditions, but the promise that Jesus has washed away our sin is the same, no matter how or when we are baptized. God calls us all to be part of His plan for the salvation of the world.

Loving Lord, we are grateful for the wonderful gift of Jesus and the saving forgiveness He brought us. Help us to live as He taught, loving You and each other always. Amen.

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