by The Rev. Brent Kuhlman
Baptism of Tyler Joseph Gilsdorf
“The Son of Man came to save that which was lost,” (Matthew 18). Jesus died for everyone. There’s none He didn’t die for. Can you name anyone Jesus leaves out of His Good Friday Calvary dying? . . . I didn’t think so. Jesus died for you. Jesus died for Tyler too. Winning and achieving the salvation that only He could do. And He did! “It is finished!” The sacrifice for all sin is done in the death of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Jesus would bestow on sinners for whom He died the forgiveness of sins won by His Good Friday dying. And so He institutes Holy Baptism. “Make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” (Matthew 28).
So the church baptizes according to the Lord’s mandate. According to His bidding. Always has. Always will. Until the Last Day that is. Right away, then, the blessed apostle Peter invites sinners to Holy Baptism. “Be baptized every one of you.” “Every one of you.” Not some. Every one means “every one.” What part of “every one of you” don’t you understand? The “every one of you” of Acts 2 matches the “all nations” of Matthew 28.
“Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus, (the Jesus who died for you).”
And then Peter extols the benefits promised in Holy Baptism. Remarkable benefits. Heavenly benefits. Salvation benefits. Listen again. “Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Whoa! Did you catch that? It’s right there in the Bible! Very clear. No doubt. From an apostle who learned it from Jesus Himself. “Receive Holy Baptism everyone.” For what reason Peter? For what gift Peter? "For the forgiveness of sins." The forgiveness won by Jesus on the Cross. Holy Baptism delivers that forgiveness! Good Friday forgiveness! Outstanding!
“Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus.” For what reason Peter? For what benefit Peter? “And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of life. Life! New life. New birth! Regeneration! In Holy Baptism. The water together with the mandate and institution Word of Jesus Himself.
St. Paul agrees. That’s in Titus 3. “God saved us . . . through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.” Washing. That’s Baptism. And with that the regeneration or gift of new life from the dead by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus told Nicodemus that sinners are received into the kingdom of God through Holy Baptism: “Truly, truly I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God,” (John 3). Water and the Spirit. Everyone knows that’s Holy Baptism. Sounds just like what Peter said. “And you (you who are baptized) will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Told you Peter learned it from the Lord.
I can just hear it now. “Well Reverend, we’ll grant you that Jesus says ‘all nations,’ and that Peter says, ‘every one of you.’ But Scripture nowhere says that a little one like Tyler should be baptized. Got you there Reverend!”
Not so fast my friend! Better listen to the rest of what Peter says. You might just be delightfully surprised. Go ahead Peter. I’ll let you tell them. “All right Pastor Kuhlman. This promise . . . (the promise of forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit) in Holy Baptism IS FOR YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN. And what is more . . . IT IS FOR ALL WHO A FAR OFF, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”
For you. For your children. For all.
Jesus died for you. He died for Tyler. Baptism is for you. For your CHILDREN. For all. Because it gives Calvary’s forgiveness and new life through the Holy Spirit. No wonder Jesus makes the promise is Mark 16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”
The “little ones” who believe in Jesus are the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18). Belief. That’s faith. Trust. In Jesus. Who gives such wonderful salutary gifts in Holy Baptism. The Father’s will is that none of the “little ones” who believe and who have angels to watch over them should ever “perish.”
You are a “little one.” Tyler is a “little one.” For whom Jesus died. Winning your salvation. And then bestowing what He achieved at Calvary in Holy Baptism. “Be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you and your children.” Happy Baptism Day Tyler! Happy remembering and rejoicing in your Baptisms, dear Christians!
In the Name of Jesus.
Rev. Brent Kuhlman is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Murdock, NE. Pastor Kuhlman serves on the Higher Things Board of Directors as Vice President.
Created: September 8th, 2008