We are beggars. So we keep on begging, imploring the Lord for mercy. We ask Him to be Himself, our Messiah, our Son of David, who has come to free us from the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh. Lord, have mercy. Lord, help us.
Do you recognize the tempter’s voice? His doubt, his questions? Beloved, the Lord’s answer, the Word of His cross, stands secure, established, unmovable. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends…” (John 15:13-14). That’s what Jesus says.
The first bridegroom, our father Adam, had his side opened, from which our mother Eve was fashioned. On the cross, Jesus the new Adam and heavenly bridegroom has His side opened, and out comes what? Streams of living water, mixed with blood. As Adam was opened for the formation of his wife, the new Adam is opened for the formation of His holy bride the Church. From His side came water, the element of Baptism, to give new birth; and blood, the content of the cup of the Lord’s Supper, to cleanse from sin.
In this image we have the baptism and the death of Jesus and our baptism all wrapped up together. This is how it should be. The baptism of Jesus is the first step on the road that ends at the cross, and at Jesus’ cross He fills up the promise of the forgiveness of all sins, the gift that baptism gives to us.
So even as we pray this prayer, we know that the Lord has already answered it for us. By His power and might He has conquered death and the grave. He has helped us by dying for us. He has poured His Holy Spirit into our hearts so that we would believe that our sins are forgiven and therefore receive the promised eternal life. And He gave all that to you in the Font.
The Holy Spirit’s chief aim is to comfort us as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and makes holy. He wants to give you comfort in your sadness and pain, in your suffering, in your temptation, in your grief over sin. Yet this comfort isn’t empty words like “It’s OK” or “You’ll find someone else” or “God’s got something better in mind.” The Holy Spirit’s comfort is greater, fuller: it is the peace of Christ.
The surprise of Easter is that Jesus doesn’t have to make a big show of it. He just tells us how things are. But what those things are, that is amazing. The death and resurrection of Jesus, now your very own: given in plain words spoken to each other; given in plain words spoken while water is poured; given in plains words spoken over bread and wine that are then consumed by Christ’s Church.
But wherever Jesus is – wherever God is – there He sanctifies. That is, wherever He is, is made holy by His presence. Even the tomb, even death. So Paul can write that death and the grave no longer have any power – they have been defeated by the death of the Son of God.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”
Jesus certainly unites us one to another. But as I said at the beginning, He also unites us to Himself. Or perhaps it’s even better said that He unites Himself to us. For Jesus comes in His glorified and risen Body and Blood and feeds you Himself, by my unworthy hand. Jesus comes and gives you the complete forgiveness of your sin. Take, eat. Take, drink. The true Body and Blood of Jesus is here for forgiveness, for you.