SUNDAY’S DIVINE SERVICE— The Baptism of Our Lord
John objects to baptizing Jesus, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” John is right! He and all sinners must be “washed,” or “baptized,” by Jesus or they cannot be saved; but the Sacrament of Holy Baptism only has power to save because Jesus was “baptized to fulfill all righteousness.” In His Baptism, the sinless Son of God, who had become man, aligned Himself with sinful man and took responsibility for the transgressions of the world. “He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us” in the waters of Holy Baptism, that He might fulfill all righteousness in His death for sinful man upon the cross. Now our Baptism has the power to save. As Jesus received the iniquity of us all in His Baptism, so we receive His righteousness in our Baptism. God the Father is delighted with this “happy exchange” and declares us His beloved for Jesus' sake.