How can water do such great things? Certainly not just water, but the word of God in and with the water does these things, along with faith which trusts this word of God in the water. For without God's word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with the word of God it is a Baptism, that is, a life-giving water, rich in grace, and a washing of the new birth in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says in Titus, chapter three: "He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ, our Savior, so that, having been justified by His grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying." (Small Catechism: Baptism Part 3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. If you say, "My baptism saves me, because it gives me Jesus," then most who call themselves "Christians" will think you are not saved. Who are you going to believe? Them or Jesus?
The world simply thinks that Baptism is something man does. It is not. It is God's work. As we have seen in the readings this week, God does His work through means. Yes, a pastor baptizes, pours on the water on. The parents bring the child. In Baptism, God gives you something. St. Paul says what it is: A "washing of new birth." That echoes Jesus' own words that baptism is to be born "from above, by water and the Spirit." (John 3:5).
When you are baptized, God attaches His Word to that water and makes you a promise. His promise is that now you, the one being baptized, can be certain that everything Jesus did, He did FOR YOU. And what is it that Jesus is giving you in Baptism? He is giving you what He accomplished on the cross: forgiveness of sins. By that washing of water and the Word, you are clothed with Christ (Galatians 3), buried and raised with Christ (Romans 6), and saved with a clean conscience (1 Peter 3). Baptism is the means by which what Jesus did is given to you, just as when someone gives you a gift, the box and wrapping paper are the means by which that gift is delivered. It is not the water in and of itself, but what the Word in that water promises, which is forgiveness and new life. All yours. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
In a wat'ry grave are buried All our sins that Jesus carried; Christ, the Ark of Life, has ferried Us across death's raging flood. (Water, Blood and Spirit Crying, LSB 597:2)Â