Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.  (Matthew 3:13)

Walking into the waters of baptism no more turns you into a Christian than walking into a bakery makes you into a cake.  That does not mean it is unimportant.  You cannot fully follow Christ, unless you follow Him into the water of baptism.  When you give your life to follow Christ, it is a new start.  You are born again.  Then, just as a baby grows and learns to walk by taking its first steps, the new believer is to take their first steps in following Christ—and that is into the water of baptism.

This means IDENTIFICATION (v.13).  A crowd gathered to be baptized by John—scandalous sinners who were confessing their sin, seeking forgiveness, and a new life.  There stands Jesus right in the midst of them—though He had no sin.  Yet, He was identifying Himself with those He came to save.  Jesus is the friend of sinners—and aren’t you glad!  Jesus identified Himself with us in baptism, and now we can identify ourselves with Him likewise.  We are following His pattern.  Baptism is a public testimony of our union with Him.  It marks us out as His follower.  Would we be ashamed of Jesus?  He will be of us then!  Don’t be ashamed!

Baptism is also about SUBMISSION (v.14-15).  John protests when his Cousin comes to be baptized.  Jesus, however, insists—otherwise He would not have remained sinless for failing to do what He ought.  Likewise, following Christ in baptism is a first step of obedience in the Christian life.  It is a token of our willingness to be obedient in every other dimension.  You don’t have to be saved to be baptized, but why would you be saved and not be baptized?

Baptism pictures CRUCIFIXION (v.16).  He came up out of the water, because He had been lowered into the water—like being lowered into a grave.  He surely thought of His death and burial.  Paul said, “We are buried with Christ in baptism...crucified with Him.”  (Rom.6:4, 6)  We are to die to our old life.  Baptism testifies to that death to sin and self.

Baptism also portrays RESURRECTION (v.16).  Jesus came up out of the water, just like rising from the dead.  We don’t just die to the old life; we are raised to walk in a new way.   Baptism is also a means of publicly proclaiming our hope—though we die, we will live again.  The new believer preaches the Gospel through the act of baptism.

Baptism communicates IMPARTATION (v.16b).  Jesus—fully God came to live as wholly man.  Thus, He showed us how to live—empowered by the Holy Spirit imparted to us.  The baptism of the Spirit—impartation of Christ’s life—is expressed through our immersion into the water.

Baptism brings COMMENDATION (v.17).  His task would not be easy.  It was a constant war with Satan, bringing an agonizing death—but, ultimately, victory!  These encouraging words were spoken at the commencement of His ministry—then repeated near its conclusion.  Baptism is meant to encourage the saints.  We all need that!

If you have decided to follow Jesus, then take the first steps into the water.  Take the plunge!

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