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Posted: January 19, 2009 2:41 p.m.

Inauguration Day

Mark 1:9-11

On Tuesday, history will be made. According to the 20th Amendment to the Constitution of these United States of America, at 12 noon on the 20th of January, President Elect Barack Obama will raise his right hand and speak the 36 word oath of office to become the 44th President of our proud country. It's a big day, costing tens of millions of dollars when it's all said and done. There's pomp, circumstance, and so much more. Why? Well, we want all the world to know that this guy is the guy we picked. This guy is the one with the power now. This guy is the president of the most powerful nation on earth!

In our text, we have an inauguration into an even more important job, an inauguration of an even greater leader. In our text we have the baptism of Jesus, as God marks Him as the one we've been waiting for, the one and only Savior of the world. At his Baptism, God proclaims this man standing in the water to be His holy Son. And that says plenty about us, too.

"You are my Son!" the Father says. The heavens split open. The Holy Spirit descended in visible form. The Father spoke. "You are my Son...whom I love!"

Of course He loved His Son. What father wouldn't? But there was more than that. You see, in his baptism, Jesus was stepping in for us. So in our Baptisms, the Father is saying the same thing. "You are my child, whom I love!"

When you were baptized, God put His name on yours. God gave you the credit for what Jesus did and placed the blame for what you did on His Son. So at your baptism, there was the Holy Spirit descending and resting upon you. There the Holy Spirit made your heart his home. Then the heavens opened up to you. And there was God your Father's voice booming from heaven: "You are my son. You are my daughter, whom I love."

Now, we didn't deserve that love. Jesus did, but not us. I was born in sin, with the natural desire to rebel against God. I sin daily, because Satan so often has such convincing arguments for how I should think, or act, or speak. And yet God calls me His child in baptism.
Why? Because Jesus stepped into that water in our place, "to fulfill all righteousness," he said. He was inaugurated into the job of being our perfect substitute, our promised Savior, the one we'd been waiting for since the first sin. He did fulfill all righteousness by receiving the baptism we needed - making ours powerful.

Yes, Jesus was stepping into a ministry of suffering, of rejection, of bearing guilt and shame, but it was all because of what God says in baptism. "You are my child - whom I love." Jesus was here to show us what the wages of sin look like, and to bear them for us. But he was also here to show us the gift of God as he defeated death for us. He was here to show us what it means when God says, "You are my child, whom I love." He loves us even when we disobey like a foolish child, even when we rebel. Don't ever tire of hearing God say to you: "You are my child, whom I love." Next week, we'll look at the rest of His message: "With you I am well pleased."

 

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