This weekend, we will be celebrating one of my very favorite things…baptism. It is the most fundamental and foundational act of obedience to teachings of Christ apart from repentance. Jesus was baptized by John “The Baptist” and He told His disciples to follow this practice until He returned.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18–20 (ESV)
As Jesus began His public ministry, we approached John and said that He should be baptized. John’s response? “You should be baptizing me! Not the other way around!”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. Matthew 3:13–15 (ESV)
In fact, just before Jesus made the request, John said this about Him…
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Matthew 3:11 (ESV)
There are a few things about this exchange that amaze me.
1. John knew that something far better was coming long before anyone else.
2. Jesus thought so highly of baptism that even He wanted to demonstrate it’s power.
3. Jesus constantly demonstrated humility even though He was the Son of God.
4. There are very few traditions that Jesus told us to continue. Baptism and The Lord’s Supper are it.
5. As the sinless Savior of the world, Jesus had no reason to be baptized except to demonstrate it’s importance to His disciples.
I believe Jesus did this because He knew there was power in baptism.
Not the kind that makes you sinless or forgiven, only accepting Christ as your Savior and atonement for your sin can do that. Instead, it holds the power of testimony and the power of a walk of obedience.
Baptism doesn’t “make” a person saved. It doesn’t “seal the deal” so to speak. Instead baptism is an outward action that demonstrates a changed life.
It is an announcement to the world that we belong to Christ!
The fact that Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize others means that we can not claim to be fully obedient to the teachings of Jesus if we have not followed in His footsteps in this very public way.
The power of baptism is the demonstration of the power of the gospel, even if it is not the action that brings it about.
The power of baptism is the power of fully obeying Christ and the rewards that come with that.
The power of baptism is knowing that you are a new creation, created for good works, and not the person you used to be.
The power of baptism is the testimony that Christ still saves, today!
The power of baptism is the power of knowing that God is at work in your life and you are bowing to His plan.
The power of baptism is peace with God and the beginning of eternal life with Christ.
I hope you will join us for this baptism celebration. If you have given your life to Him and have not been baptized, I hope you will experience the power of baptism in your own life, too. You can let us know at JourneyChattanooga.com/baptism.