Jesus Received Benefits at His Baptism (And We Did at Ours, Too!)
Doerr, Christopher S.
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“An incorrect understanding of Jesus’ baptism by John can lead to an incorrect under-standing of Jesus’ incarnation, his divinity, his state of humiliation, the role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’ saving work, the meaning of Jesus’ title “Christ,” the prophecies of Jesus’ anointing in Isaiah and the Psalms, the power of baptism for sinners today, and whether Jesus came to be a second law-giver like Moses. What is left of the Christian faith if all of these are misunderstood? On the other hand, the pastor who preaches correctly on Jesus’ baptism has a power-ful and joyful opportunity to instruct his people in all these doctrines, vital and central to the faith. Besides this, Jesus’ baptism appears annually in the pericopes, is part of our Bible history curricula for LES and Sunday school, is a key seat of doctrine for demonstrating the scriptural teaching of the Trinity in catechetics and membership classes, and is im-portant simply as the beginning-point of Jesus’ public ministry. Therefore, the Lutheran pastor should not and cannot avoid the topic of Jesus’ bap-tism in his preaching and teaching as something difficult, doctrine-heavy, impractical, or “old hat.” Nor should the pastor despise an opportunity to make sure that he himself under-stands Jesus’ baptism correctly, especially when it is a topic concerning which there is not unanimity in our synod’s publications or preaching. One of our prominent synodical fathers, John Schaller (our Seminary’s second presi-dent, whose textbook on Christology has been reprinted just this past year by our publish-ing house), has written that Jesus neither needed nor received any “additional spiritual endowments” from either his baptism or the descent of the Spirit immediately following it.5 In what follows, I intend to show from Scripture that this sainted man was unclear in writing that. He overstated his case. I pray that my study will lead to a greater correct-ness and unanimity among us in how we present to God’s people this glorious event from our Savior’s pathway to the cross.” (Introduction from p.4-5)