Matthew 3:16-17, “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him, I am well pleased.”
Many people are sprinkled as babies, and it’s great for parents to publicly dedicate their children to God — but it’s not biblical. God’s Word talks about believer’s baptism. That is taking the first step of obedience after we have made our own decision to follow Jesus. We must be able to admit that we are sinners, repent, and commit our lives to Christ. This requires a new believer to be old enough to understand that Jesus lived a perfect life, died on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins and rose again after three days. Then and only then are we to be baptized by immersion.
Why baptism by immersion? Every person in the Bible who made a faith decision was immediately baptized by immersion, including Jesus! In fact, he demonstrated its importance by walking 27 miles out of his way to be fully immersed in the Jordan River. Also important is the symbolism of the gospel message. As we fully go under the water — a replication of Jesus’ death — we die to our “old self.” As we come out of the water, we are being resurrected with Jesus and beginning a new life in Christ. This paints a vivid picture of what’s happening inside of us. And it’s a great time of celebration both here and in heaven!
Baptism is an outward expression of the inward decision to follow Christ. If you have made that inward decision, but have yet to go public with your faith, we would love for you to do so this weekend!
Jesus, thank you for being the perfect example. Give me the courage to take the next step of faith on the path you have placed before me – whatever it may be. I’m so grateful that you led me to a church that makes baptism so readily available every week, and for the opportunity for so many to celebrate their relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.