This is My Son – Week of January 9, 2023

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:16-17

Names are pretty important. When a child is about to be born, parents can spend countless hours discussing the perfect name for their child. Some name the child as soon as they know the gender. Others want to hold the child before making that final decision. Some names come from a special relative or friend. For others, the meaning of the name makes all the difference. Our last name identifies us as a member of our family.

Jesus, as you may know, was referred to by several names. We most often hear him referred to as Jesus, just as he is in today’s reading. The name Jesus means “The Lord is salvation.” What a perfect name for the Savior of the world. Jesus is also referred to as Jesus Christ. Christ is not meant to imply a last name. The name, Christ, is a title with significant meaning. It means “The Anointed One.” In the Old Testament, pouring liquid (typically oil) over someone’s head signified that they were selected for a special task. Kings were anointed. For example, as a young shepherd, David was anointed to be the next king.

In today’s reading, we hear about Jesus’ baptism. The Bible doesn’t specify how exactly the water was applied but it’s clear that water was used to anoint Jesus. Jesus was sinless and didn’t need baptism for forgiveness. However, his baptism signified that Jesus truly was the promised Savior, anointed as God’s special servant and our Savior. This was confirmed by the voice from heaven saying, “This is my Son.” There was no doubt. God had kept his promise.

So what does that mean for you and me? Jesus’ baptism confirms for us who he was—God’s Son who fulfilled God’s promise to send a Savior for us. We can think of our own baptism as an anointing as well (though not as a king or ruler.) Rather, through baptism the Holy Spirit names us as God’s dear child, washed clean from sin, a member of God’s family for eternity by his grace.

The name your parents chose for you is important. Being named as one of God’s own children is a blessing that is immeasurable. While we may not hear God’s voice speaking in an audible way, God calls us and says, “This is my child, whom I love.” You are now named as his own.

Dear Jesus, your baptism marked the beginning of your ministry and identified you as the promised Savior. My baptism marks me as God’s dear child through faith. Thank you for being my Savior. Thank you for the gift of faith through baptism. Help me to reflect that blessing each day in all I do. In your name I pray. Amen

CW21 385 Christ Begins

Listen to the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Choir sing “Christ Begins.”

You can also read an article in the January edition of Forward Magazine that gives more background to this new hymn.

Early Childhood Ministry Educator’s (ECME) Devotions are brought to you by WELS Commission on Lutheran Schools.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide.
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