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Why do you Baptize?

by Petersen ~ December 15th, 2008

P: Who are you?

J: Not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet.

P: Fine. But you have to tell us something about yourself. You have disciples. You are preaching.

J: If you must know, I am the voice crying in the wilderness.

P: OK. But if you are not the Christ why do you baptize?

J: Because the Christ is here.

John’s answer is the same as ours.  We baptize because God has become a Man and stood among the Pharisees with sandals on His feet. And this baptizing, no less than John’s, makes straight the way of the Lord.

I am a bit surprised at how clearly the pharisees see. They know that no man can baptize. They know it must be Christ. John knows this as well. He says, “I baptize with water.” I am surprised he doesn’t say, “I don’t baptize,” the way he said, “I am not Elijah.”

John baptizes with water, which is to say, he pours the water in accord with the Lord’s institution and with the Lord’s Word. The actual Baptizer is the Lord Himself. For He sanctified the water and joined Himself to water in His Baptism and He poured water from His side upon the cross. John performs the outward action. But he is not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet. He is only the voice. It is the Word of the Lord that comes out, that is carried on His voice. That enduring Word does not return void. He has power to turn to the hearts of the children to their fathers, to forgive sins, to declare righteous, to beget saints, through water.

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