Bring the Little Ones To Me!
All Saints’ Sunday Trinity Lutheran Church
2 November 2014 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Baptism of Halle Rose Dorr
Christians go to church, at least they should, … to listen to the Lord’s divine word. To let the Lord Jesus have the say so. To let the Lord Jesus have His say. After all, you don’t have better words than His. Isn’t that right? Well? Of course that’s right. His words are divine and trustworthy.
Consequently, I will give you some of the Lord’s words today so that we all rejoice in Holy Baptism and what the Lord gives to sinners through Holy Baptism. To you and to Halle Rose.
From Mark 10 in the baptismal liturgy Jesus categorically had the say so today. He flat out mandates: “Let the little children come to Me. Don’t keep them away from Me. Let nothing get in the way of My blessing them. Forgive My disciples. They’re clueless at the moment. I can’t tell you how much I am displeased with them. I’m sorry that they met you at the door today and told you to leave the kids at home. They’ve got so much to learn. And they will.”
In total opposition to his naïve-at-the-moment-disciples Jesus emphatically says: “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.”
Why? Well I’m glad you asked. Jesus tells you why: “for of such is the kingdom of God.” In other words, Jesus is saying: “I’ve come for them too. I’m not going to leave them out of My kingdom of God reign of salvation. I’ve come to save all sinners. I’m the Savior of not just the adults but also the little ones. So don’t keep them away from Me! Bring them to Me! I’ve come to give salvation to all sinners, including Halle Rose.”
Perhaps you’ve heard Carrie Underwood’s latest hit that extols Baptism. She says that her life is changed because she’s baptized. She’s changed – namely, she’s a believer because as she puts it: “there’s something in the water.” Well, the something in the water is the Lord’s words and promises that He attaches in and with the water. Remember that Baptism is not just plain water BUT IT IS THE WATER INCLUDED IN GOD’S COMMAND AND COMBINED WITH GOD’S WORD. Without God’s Word the water is plain water and no Baptism. But with God’s Word it is a Baptism, that is, a life giving water.
The Divine Word is what makes the baptismal water a water rich in grace – a water that cleanses sinners with the divine blood of Jesus! So Jesus speaks and attaches His words and promises with the water of Holy Baptism in order to give His Good Friday SALVATION TO SINNERS. And that’s precisely why Gage and Stacy brought little Halle Rose to Jesus for His Good Friday gifting or Good Friday blessings that He gives in Holy Baptism.
Let’s get this biblical fact under our belts once and for all, shall we? Baptism is the Lord’s gift to sinners! His giving! His doing!
Now I want to show you from God’s Word what blessings or gifts Jesus gives through the Word attached to the baptismal water. You’d better hang on tight. It’s going to be a fast fly by of New Testament teaching – the Lord’s words! Letting Him speak the first and final word.
First, Matthew 28. According to the Lord’s mandate and institution, sinners are to be baptized “in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” What’s the gift that God gives in Holy Baptism according to this text? It’s God’s Name! In Holy Baptism God gives you His Name. That means He’s God FOR YOU! With His Name He gives you Himself and all that He is.
Mark 16:16. Jesus promises that, “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” Did you hear that? “Saved” Jesus says. Peter learned that from Jesus and put it this way in 1 Peter 3:21, “Baptism saves you … through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” What He says is true. And you can hold Him to it! In fact, Jesus wants you to hold Him to this promise. He loves to be caught in and with His words.
Acts 2:38-39. The apostle Peter finally “got it.” In his sermon on the Day of Pentecost preaches that baptism gives “the forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When your sins are forgiven and you have the gift of the Holy Spirit which means that you’re now a new creation spelled F-A-I-T-H YOU ARE SAVED! And then Peter declares that these gifts (forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit) are “for you and for your children and for all.” “For you” talk is gift talk. Baptism = divine gift. And the “for all” in Acts 2 matches the “all nations” of Jesus’ mandate for Baptism in Matthew 28. And the “for your children” here in Acts 2 fits with Jesus’ words in Mark 10: “let the little children come to me.”
Acts 22:16. The apostle Paul tells of the day when he was given Holy Baptism. The pastor told him: “What are you waiting for, be baptized and wash away your sins.” “Wash away your sins” in Acts 22 is the same as Acts 2’s “for the forgiveness of your sins.” So, again, let’s be clear: Holy Baptism is one of the ways that Jesus bestows His Good Friday forgiveness. No wonder Jesus said in Mark 10: “Bring the kids to me. Don’t hinder them.”
Titus 3:5. Again the apostle Paul extols the “washing” of Holy Baptism. Listen carefully. “God saved us” – there’s that verb again! But how exactly did God “save us”? Paul says that God “saved us through the WASHING of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” That washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit is Holy Baptism. Paul learned this from Jesus when Jesus told Nicodemus that in order to be “born again” or “born from above,” saved, or “enter the kingdom of God,” the sinner had to be “born of water and of the Spirit,” (John 3:5).
Now let’s finish up by going back to Mark 10. “Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them because I’ve come for them too.”
But there’s one final zinger, one final clincher from the Lord. And I can’t pass it up. Because there’s always the person who insists on having better words than the Lord. There are those that object to what happened today. They vehemently protest and complain: “Little Halle didn’t do anything! She did nothing! Gage and Stacey, you should let Halle decide whether she wants to be baptized when she gets older – when she becomes an adult!”
Well, what does Jesus say to such objections? He point blank asserts: “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
Halle Rose, as a “little child” didn’t do anything at the font! She did nothing! Everything was DONE TO HER! Bingo! That’s precisely the point — WHEN IT COMES TO SALVATION! Salvation is always a gift from the Lord whether it’s salvation’s achievement at Calvary or salvation’s delivery in Holy Baptism. When it comes to salvation’s winning or bestowing sinners like you, me or Halle Rose are DO NOTHINGS and Jesus is everything!
Now, if there’s anyone here today who is not baptized, what prevents you from receiving Holy Baptism? If it’s your words, your objections, your protests, your excuses, it’s time to repent of that and let the Lord’s words have their way with you.
And for those of you who are baptized, cling to the Lord’s words and His promises that I’ve reviewed with you today. Especially Mark 16:16: “whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.”
Happy Baptism Day Halle Rose! And to the rest of you – happy living in and from your Baptism until it comes to complete and total fruition in the resurrection of the body on the Last Day and life everlasting.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The Greek verb here in the text translated as “hinder” or “prevent” is used with regard to Holy Baptism in the New Testament (see Acts 8:36; Acts 10:47; Acts 11:17; also see Matthew 3:14 where John the Baptist attempts to “hinder” or prevent Jesus from being baptized by him in the Jordan).