“Then the demons came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned” (LK. 8:33)
In the old baptismal liturgies, there was often an exorcism; a person being baptized would renounce Satan and all his works. The idea was that when someone was welcomed into the kingdom of God, Satan was formally and officially banished. If you think about how Peter says that baptism is the fulfillment of the flood, and Paul says that baptism is the fulfillment of the Exodus, this instinct seems exactly right. Whether we explicitly renounce the devil or not, baptism is a mini-exorcism. But notice how it works. We take a little bit of water, a little bit of the sea, the place of the sea monsters and demons, the place of raging storms, in whose depths is the abyss, and we sprinkle it on those who trust in Christ and on their children. And Paul says that when we do this, by faith, we are joined to the death of Jesus. But what has the raging sea become? What has the great sea serpent become? He’s become a harmless handful of water. What has death become? An empty tomb. What might have destroyed Noah merely dripped on him. What might have destroyed Israel merely sprayed a bit of mist as they walked between the waters on dry ground. And meanwhile our enemies are drowned; sin, death, and Satan, we renounce and mock. So Dominic and Felicia, I charge you to remember this day as the day Jesus claimed your son. I charge you to hear Him speaking to you about His love for your son. And whatever comes in future days, whatever darkness, whatever storms, whatever demons threaten you or Isaiah, I charge you to remember this day as the day Jesus announced His jurisdiction over your son. Teach your son that as he resists the devil, he will always flee from him.