To Jordan came our Lord, the Christ,Martin Luther: Christ unser Herr zum Jordan kam…
To do God’s pleasure willing,
And there was by St. John baptized,
All righteousness fulfilling;
There did He consecrate a bath
To wash away transgression,
And quench the bitterness of death
By His own blood and passion,
He would a new life give us.
Yes, it´s all about the new life in our Lord Jesus Christ. See, we confess concerning Christmas and our Lord´s birth, that He came down from heaven:
…for us men, and for our salvation, … and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, and was made man…Nicene Creed
That was the purpose of Him becoming Man (Cur Deus homo?). Today – on this 1st Sunday after Epiphany, we hear about our Lord IX coming to the Jordan again with a fixed purpose, namely: He would a new life give us! And this He does through the forgiveness of our Sins – those inherited from Adam and those committed by ourselves in thought, word and deed by commission and omission
by my fault, by my own fault, by my own most grievous fault.Compline LSB 254
Or as Luther concludes his hymn in the final stanza translated by Richard Massie:
The eye of sense alone is dim, And nothing sees but water; Faith sees Christ Jesus, and in Him The Lamb ordained for slaughter; It sees the cleansing fountain, red With the dear blood of Jesus, Which from the sins, inherited From fallen Adam, frees us, And from our own misdoings.
We are freed from the guilt of sin and baptized into a new life in Jesus Christ
It (Holy Baptism) indicates that the Old Adam in us should by daily contrition and repentance be drowned and die with all sins and evil desires, and that a new man should daily emerge and arise to live before God in righteousness and purity forever.Martin Luther on Baptism in the Small Catechism
Just as it is written by the holy Apostle St. Paul:
We were therefore buried with Jesus Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as He was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.Romans 6:4
The Sermon for this 1st Sunday after Epiphany is based on a further part of this epistle and deals with the new life to which we have been called by our Lord and God in Holy Baptism as the watchword specifies:
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God.Romans 8:14
Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice—alive, holy, and pleasing to God —which is your reasonable service. Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God—what is good and well-pleasing and perfect.
For by the grace given to me I say to every one of you not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think, but to think with sober discernment, as God has distributed to each of you a measure of faith. For just as in one body we have many members, and not all the members serve the same function, so we who are many are one body in Christ, and individually we are members who belong to one another. And we have different gifts according to the grace given to us. If the gift is prophecy, that individual must use it in proportion to his faith. If it is service, he must serve; if it is teaching, he must teach; if it is exhortation, he must exhort; if it is contributing, he must do so with sincerity; if it is leadership, he must do so with diligence; if it is showing mercy, he must do so with cheerfulness.Romans 12:1-8
That´s why we pray:
Teach me to do what pleases you,Psalm 143:10
for you are my God.
May your kind presence
lead me into a level land.