We prayed and prayed for rain over the last 5 years, and God sure answered our prayers this winter, didn’t he? Of course he was always answering our prayers by telling us to wait a while, but this year we are seeing what God’s big “Yes” looks like when it comes to rain! We don’t know exactly how the rainfall will continue this winter, but hopefully we will have plenty of snow and water by the time the summer rolls around.
God uses water to do powerful and amazing things. Yesterday in worship, we celebrated the baptism of an infant, and there is a prayer that is part of the baptismal service that mentions some of God’s uses of water. For example, when humanity became exceedingly wicked in the days of Noah, God sent a worldwide flood upon the planet. What devastation that caused! Billions of creatures and humans were drowned, and we see the rapid burial of creatures today in the fossil record. God cleaned the earth of sinful humanity, and only Noah and his family, eight people in all, were saved in the ship that Noah had built.
Later, God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. He used Moses and Aaron to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt toward the Promised Land. But the Egyptian army pursued them to the shores of the Red Sea, and was ready to destroy them. God rescued Israel by making a path on dry ground through the Red Sea, and while the Israelites passed safely through, the Egyptian army was drowned when the waters came back to their normal position.
In both of these instances, God used water to kill, and he used water to save. And that’s what He has done for you in your baptism.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4 NIV)
Note also these words from the New Testament book of Colossians:
In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. (Colossians 2:11-12 NIV)
When you were baptized, your sin and your sinful nature was put to death with Jesus on the cross. That is why Luther’s Small Catechism says this about baptism: Baptism means that the Old Adam in us should be drowned by daily contrition and repentance, and die, and that all its evil deeds and desires be put to death.
So God used water and His powerful Word to put your sin to death and give you a new life in your Lord Jesus Christ. Baptism is a new birth, a new beginning, a fresh start for you. Daily we confess our sins, and daily we are renewed in the mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus. You have been connected to His death, but also to His resurrection.
Next time it rains, thank God for His precious gift of baptism!