Herrenhuter readings for Thursday, the 12th February 2015

Jesus Baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan

Know ye that the LORD he is God (Psa 100:3 KJV)

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true. (1Jo 5:20 KJV)

That is the first commandment, that we should love, fear and trust God above all things. And there is no nation on this world that is so deplorable, that it has no god. Yet, the crucial thing is that you have the right God and call the living God God and not just any idol or makeshift effigy. That’s the most important issue of our lives. That’s why our Lord Jesus Christ became man, to give this vital understanding of the truth.

In the days of old the prophets proclaimed this living Trinity: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They elaborately illustrated, who he was, is and would be. Images of kings, shepherds, priests and high priests, physician, mother, lover, suffering servant, saviour and deliverer abound. The depictions became more and more vivid until the word became flesh in Jesus Christ there in Bethlehem. Then the glory of the Father became visible in this vivid image of the living God: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him!” Throughout his life he revealed the Father, so that whoever saw him, saw the Father himself. Since then, we know what God is like. That’s why Jesus has been proclaimed throughout the nations and to the ends of the world, because he alone is the truth, the life and the only way to the Father.  Nobody can come to the Father than through Jesus Christ alone. However whoever believes in him, has the Father and will not die forever, but will live eternally even though he might die temporarily.

That is why even today everywhere on this world the Church is teaching, preaching, instructing and sharing all that Jesus Christ himself taught and revealed to her. Meticulously she sticks to his institutions and carries out his mandates, because they share his truth and life.  His revelation is the foundation of our hope, trust and joyful confidence now and forever. Amen.

  1. Christ our Lord to the Jordan came,
    For thus His Father willed it,
    John’s baptism for Himself to claim,
    And thus the Son fulfilled it.
    Thereby He drew for us a bath,
    To wash us of transgression,
    And drowned He also bitter death,
    Through His own blood and passion;
    A new life thus availeth.
  2. So mark ye well and all perceive
    What God Himself calls Baptism,
    And what a Christian should believe
    Lest heresy deceive him.
    Though lowly water, plain and clear,
    Is His good will and pleasure,
    His holy Word is also here,
    His Spirit without measure;
    He does Himself baptize us.
  3. Such hath He made clear as can be,
    With signs both shown and spoken.
    The Father’s voice was openly
    Heard loud upon the Jordan.
    He said: This Man is My dear Son
    In whom I am delighted.
    I now command you, every one,
    That ye, through Him invited,
    Should follow all His teachings.
  4. The Son of God Himself here stands
    In tender human nature;
    The Holy Ghost on Him descends,
    Clad in a dove’s fair vesture.
    We therefore should not doubt at all,
    When to the font we’re wending,
    That all three Persons us do call,
    To earth in grace descending,
    With us to make their dwelling.
  5. To His disciples spake the Christ:
    Go hence, the whole world teaching,
    The lost, for whom I’ve paid the price,
    Repenting through your preaching.
    He who believes and is baptized
    Shall be thereby most blessèd
    And born anew in heav’nly wise,
    No more by death oppressèd;
    He shall inherit heaven.
  6. He who rejects this gen’rous grace,
    Sin still his soul possesses.
    He is condemned t’eternal death
    Deep in hell’s dark recesses.
    No help is his own holiness,
    His deeds have not availed him,
    Turned by that sin to worthlessness
    Which from his birth assailed him;
    He can’t himself deliver.
  7. The eye doth naught but water see,
    Plain men the water pouring;
    But from this blindness faith is free,
    Christ Jesus’ blood adoring.
    It is for faith a flood of red,
    By Christ’s own blood thus tinted,
    For all our sin and weakness shed
    Which Adam has transmitted,
    And we too have committed.

Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam
Martin Luther, 1541
Tr. composite

About Wilhelm Weber jr

Rector of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Tshwane
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