“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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
“And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Have you ever wondered to yourself why we do the things we do as God’s people? I’d be the first to admit that we do some things as the church that may appear strange or weird to the rest of the world. Maybe you’ve spent a lifetime in the church, so you don’t think twice about it because it’s all you’ve known.
But consider Baptism for a moment. Why do we as God people take individuals or groups of people and have them gather around a water source and then dip them into the water or pour the water on their heads? Of all the things we could do together, why do we do this?
Well, we baptize because Jesus told us to. Baptism isn’t something we thought up because we imagined it would be a cool invention. Baptism is a part of our life together as God’s people because Jesus gave Baptism to us as a gift. He commands his disciples to use Baptism to make disciples of all nations.
Fast forward to the book of Acts, and you see the disciples using Baptism to do just that. As he’s speaking to the crowds at Pentecost, Peter urges them to turn and baptized. In his speech, Peter explains in even more detail why we baptize: we baptize so that people might have their sin forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Even if all we had was the command of Jesus, we would have a good enough reason to baptize. But we also have the promise of amazing gifts being delivered in Baptism, which means we have even more reason to do it. In your Baptism, you have received the full forgiveness of all your sin. It has been washed away entirely. Additionally, you’ve been given the Holy Spirit, who now dwells in you, guiding and animating you.
So, the next time you witness a Baptism, remember why it is the church is doing what it does, and don’t let that moment pass you by. Open your eyes to the reality of something profound happening in front of you in that moment. It is so much more than it may seem. Not only is the church living out what Jesus told it to do, but the Lord himself is acting in an amazing way to deliver the greatest gifts a person could ever hope to receive.
What appears to an ordinary splash or dip of water is connected with the Word of God and his promises so that it might be one of the most extraordinary things the people of God get to experience.
Baptism is no ordinary moment. It’s a moment worth remembering.
Heavenly Father, you have promised to grant forgiveness and your Holy Spirit through the waters of Baptism. Open our eyes to your word of promise that we might see even more clearly the profound reality of your work for your people in Baptism. This we ask in Jesus’ name. Amen!
- Have you ever seen someone else get baptized? What did you think in that moment? What did you feel?
- If someone asked you why your church baptizes individuals, what would you tell him or her?