John the Baptist pointed to the true help coming in Jesus. "He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit," John said. When God helps, he doesn't just explain the problem and tell us where to get further help if we need it. Nor does he command and then expect us to live up to the commandments under our own ability. He gives commands to show us how much we need, and then he himself helps us completely, withholding nothing, giving us all that we need and more. That is what happens in Baptism. Christ doesn't simply mark us out for a gift and wait to see how we'll respond. Nor does he withhold the gift for some future date. He gives everything in Baptism, declaring us his own and sending his Spirit into us to "call, gather, enlighten, sanctify and keep us" as his own, as the Small Catechism's explanation of the Third Article says. That is the comfort of the gospel. People go part way in dealing with others. They take the initiative, then wait for a response. But Christ goes all the way, not only taking the initiative but creating the response in us by giving us faith as a gift of the Holy Spirit. He both promises to be our Lord and gives us the faith to believe it, coming to us again and again in his Spirit, keeping us in the faith to which he restores us. The good news in the Gospel for this Sunday is heard when we recognize who acts. Ordinarily we assume that we have the action, at least some of it - that God goes part way and that we meet him and complete the task, working faith in ourselves, but "all flesh is grass," as Isaiah says. "The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God will stand for ever" (vv.6-8). God is the one who takes the action, and he takes it all. As he sent his word of comfort to Israel, he speaks his word to us. And as he speaks to us, he also goes to work in the sacraments to give us every gift.