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Baptism of Anna Joy Reinke

August 25, 2013

Click here to listen to this sermon.

Proper 16 (Pentecost 14)                                           Trinity Lutheran Church

25 August 2013                                                                                             Murdock, NE


+ Jesu Juva +


St. Mark 10:13-16 / Baptism of Anna Joy Reinke


Well, the Lord Jesus flat out says it.  “Let the little children come to me.”  We’d better hear His sermon again.  Listen:  “Let the little children come to Me.”


Who would dare to disobey the Lord on this matter?  I mean, who would bullishly insist that the little children including little Anna Joy should be kept away from the Lord?  And that He’s only for the grownups? 


Well?  Who? 


The disciples!  Of all people!  “They brought young children to Jesus that He might touch them; but THE DISCIPLES rebuked those who brought them.” 


Yes, that’s right.  The disciples – of all people!  Imagine Peter, Matthew, and all the rest these disciples getting in your face, wagging a finger, and preaching a demanding sermon that you are not to bother or inconvenience Pastor Jesus with your kids!  Imagine, Randy and Gretchen, Peter and the other disciples confronting you, belittling you, scolding you, and hauling you over the coals for bringing Anna Joy to Jesus so that He would bless her!  Imagine receiving an apostolic reprimand like this:  “Randy and Gretchen, as well as all you parents with children, listen up!  Don’t bother Jesus.  Scram!  Skedaddle!  Beat it!  He’s too busy.  Keep your snotty-nosed bundles of noise away from Him!” 


You might put up a little bit of a protest.  But the disciples would just shout you down.  Intimidate you.  Bully you.  The apostolic rebuke would just escalate.  Peter, most likely, would pull out the biggest trump card:  “Look here folks!  I’m not just a disciple.  Tradition has it that I will soon be the bishop of Rome!  The big cheese!  What I say goes!  Infallibly!  And no one, that’s right, NO ONE, dares to disobey me!  Now kiss my ring and get Anna Joy as far away from Jesus as you can.  I demand it!”


You’d think the disciples would have it right, especially Peter.  But they don’t.  They’re wrong.  Totally wrong.  Dead wrong.  They as well as all those who go along with them at this point need to repent. 


Good thing the Lord Jesus gets wind of what’s going on with His disciples.  He doesn’t like it one bit.  In fact, He’s very “displeased,” outraged!  He goes to bat for you.  He preaches a different sermon than the disciples.


“Let the little children come to Me and do not forbid them.” 


Then He gives the reason why He wants parents to bring their children to Him.  Listen.  “For of such is the kingdom of God.”  In other words, Jesus has come to bring God’s kingdom, God’s reign of forgiveness, life and salvation to … yes, that’s right … even to children!  “For of such is the kingdom of God.”  Jesus has come for the kids too.  Not just the adults.  Salvation is for everyone.  For every sinner – from newborn to senior citizen.  Jesus suffers, dies and rises from the dead not just for grown ups!  But even for your little ones.  They too are very precious to the Lord Jesus! 


Jesus shed His Blood not only for you but also for Anna Joy!  His It-Is-Finished-Good-Friday death counted for her too.  He didn’t leave her out of His all atoning sacrifice for every sin and for every sinner.


So Randy and Gretchen brought Anna Joy to Jesus today for His gift of Holy Baptism.  Obeying Jesus’ mandate in Matthew 28 that she be made a disciple by being baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Today that happened.  The Lord Jesus put His most holy Name on her!  And with His Name He bestows on her all that He won for her in His Mount Calvary death. 


Romans 6 puts it this way:  the baptized are buried with Christ through Baptism into His death.  Acts 2:38-39 declares that when a sinner is baptized in Jesus’ Name, his sins are forgiven, he receives the gift of the Holy Spirit, and that this is “for you and for your children.”  Titus 3:5-8 affirms that, “God saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”  That’s Baptism.  Holy Baptism is the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit just as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God UNLESS HE IS BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT.”  To be born again is to be baptized!


Now, some of you may object.  Or balk at what I’m preaching from the Scriptures today.  And your opposition probably goes something like this:  “But Anna Joy didn’t do anything!  She didn’t do anything!”


BINGO!  Of course she didn’t!  That’s precisely the point.  That’s what salvation is all about!  Being given to!  BY THE LORD! 


Salvation is a gift received by faith.  And faith too is a miraculous gift from the Lord!  When anyone believes or comes to faith, you’ve witnessed a divine miracle!  So let’s set the record straight!  Once and for all!


Sinners are saved not by what they do!  A sinner is saved by what the Lord Jesus does and gives!  He dies the Calvary death!  He takes the sin of the world in His bloody Body and get damned with it!  Jesus is the Savior!  He does the Savior-ing!  All by Himself!  He doesn’t need or want your help!  He is the “narrow door” by which sinners for whom He died enter into “the feast in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 13:24, 29)


Only a silly, stubborn adult, like Peter, the other disciples and some of you here today, would insist on giving Jesus a salvation assist.  “Here Jesus, let me do something!  You’re Good Friday suffering is really hard.  Why don’t you take a break from the cross for a little while and let me contribute to your work?”


Nonsense!  To use the language from Hebrews 12:4 that we heard today: “In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”  BUT JESUS DID!  AND HIS BLOOD IS DIVINE BLOOD!  THE ONLY BLOOD THAT ATONES FOR SIN AND FOR SINNERS!  His divine blood “speaks a better word than the blood of Abel,” (Hebrews 12:24) because it doesn’t cry out for revenge BUT FOR YOUR FORGIVENESS!   


Jesus is either total Savior of sinners or He’s no Savior at all.  Sinners contribute nothing to their salvation.  Sinners can only be given the salvation won on the Friday we all call “Good” by Jesus!  No wonder He continues with His sermon.  “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  And that’s when He takes up the DO-NOTHING kids in His arms and blesses them with the salvation He’s come to achieve and win for them and for all on the cross!  Doing precisely what He preached in the Holy Gospel for today:  “Indeed there are those who are last who will be first,” (Luke 13:30)! 


Little Do-Nothing Anna Joy was given Holy Baptism today by Jesus.  He took her up in His arms and blessed her with the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit!  She simply received the kingdom of God AS A LITTLE CHILD.  That’s faith!  Being given to!  The Lord’s promise now applies to her:  “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,” (Mark 16:16).  His promise is for you too!


Happy Baptism Day Anna Joy!  Happy living in your Baptism by always using Jesus against your sin with His forgiveness!  Dittos to all of you who are baptized in Jesus’ Name here at Trinity, Murdock! 


In the Name of Jesus.           

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