Today, March 14, is my re-birthday. In other words I was born again through the waters of baptism fourteen years ago today. With that on my mind, I always like to sit back and reflect on the significance of that moment in my life.
One of my favorite illustrations of baptism comes from Galatians 3:26-29
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
When you are baptized you are clothed with Christ. And if we are clothed in Christ, then our former identities don’t matter anymore. When God sees us, he sees his children.
There is an Old Testament foreshadowing of this in Genesis 27. It’s not a pretty story. It’s really one of those “Why is this in the Bible?” type stories.
Jacob and Esau were fraternal twin brothers who could not be more different. Jacob was the clean-shaven mama’s boy. Esau was the burly, hairy, outdoorsman. Their father, Isaac, was growing old. He was bent, blind, and hard of hearing. His time was running short, so it was time to bestow a blessing on his sons, as was the custom.
Esau, the older son, was to receive the first and the better blessing. Isaac asked him to hunt down some wild game and make his famous stew. While Esau was out, Jacob, with the help of his mother, was able to trick his dad into giving the blessing to him instead. Rebekah made a stew while Jacob clothed himself in Esau’s clothes and wrapped furs around his arms.
He went to his father, presented the stew, and was able to make Isaac believe that he was really Esau. Isaac blessed Jacob with the first and better blessing, leaving Esau out in the cold. Thus we see the climax of a decades-long feud between the brothers.
So what does this have to do with us? When we are baptized, Paul says that we clothe ourselves with Christ. Thus we become God’s children through faith. We all become one in Christ because we’re all clothing ourselves in Christ. And as long as we are clothing ourselves in Christ, we are freely receiving the blessing that should only belong to Jesus himself.
The beauty is that Jesus doesn’t seem to mind. We don’t have to weasel our way into God’s presence and somehow manipulate him into blessing us. He wants to bless us. He wants us to put on our big brother’s clothes. He wants us to look like, smell like, sound like, and act like Jesus.
Jesus alone should be the heir to the Father’s blessing, but he invites us all to share the inheritance!
Who are you wearing?