Easter Sunday is the culmination of Holy Week, but in considering the meaning of baptism today, I want us to go back to Jesus' trial before Pilate.

When Jesus was on trial, the crowd cried out, "His blood be on us and on our children." By that, they meant that they judged Jesus worthy of death -- and they were so certain of it, they were willing to seal it with an oath. They were saying, "If we are wrong about Jesus, may we be judged, including our children. If we are wrong to curse Jesus, may those curses fall on us instead."

But those very same words, "His blood be on us and our children" take on a very different meaning when spoken by God's faithful people. Instead of a self-maledictory oath, they become a way of claiming God's promised blessings. These words describe the essence of the covenant. When parents bring a child for baptism in faith, they are in effect pleading to God, "May Christ's blood be on us and our children." These parents bring this child for baptism today, claiming the blood of Christ. They want to be covered with Christ's blood. They want their child to be covered with Christ's blood. Why? Because that blood is the only hope for sinners. That blood brings cleansing and forgiveness, it washes away guilt and makes us whiter than snow. And that blood is present, promised, and applied in baptism. Just as surely as this child is washed with water, so will this child be sprinkled with the blood of Jesus. May his blood be on us and our children!