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Contributed By:
Jeff Strite
 
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WHY DID JESUS NEED TO BE BAPTIZED?

So why would Jesus need to be baptized by John?
Well... Jesus' baptism by John was the beginning of Jesus' ministry

Mark 1:1 starts out: "The BEGINNING of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" and then Mark starts telling us about Jesus' baptism by John.

In Luke 3:23 we're told of Jesus' baptism by John and then we read: "Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he BEGAN HIS MINISTRY..."

Obviously, for some reason, Jesus' ministry began with His baptism.

Now, at this point in Jewish history, water baptism served one of 3 purposes.
1st, there was the Baptism Of Repentance.
This was what John the Baptist's was preaching.
But of course Jesus didn't need to repent because He hadn't sinned.

The 2nd kind of baptism was for people who desired to convert to Judaism.
It was a Baptism Of Conversion.
If you were a Gentile who wanted to convert to Judaism, they baptized you in water.

ILLUS: Jamieson, Fausset and Brown explained that: "The Jews were accustomed to say of a heathen proselyte, on his public admission into the Jewish faith BY BAPTISM, that he was a new-born child."

So, baptism was used when someone wanted to convert to Judaism. But Jesus had no need to convert to Judaism. He already was one. He'd been born a Jew.

So baptism in those days could be for repentance or conversion... and Jesus did not need to be baptized for those reasons. So, for what OTHER reason would a person be baptized in water back then???

Well, the only other people who experienced baptism - in the Jewish faith in that day were priests. The Law dictated that especially the High Priest was to "washed with water." And the Temple had pools set aside for just that purpose.

In Leviticus 8:6 we're told that - by the instruction of God -- "Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water."
Then, later, during that ceremony Moses "poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed him to consecrate him." Leviticus 8:12

This act INITIATED Aaron's ministry as High Priest. When Aaron and his sons were washed with water and anointed with oil, they BEGAN their priesthood and were empowered to make sacrifices and to handle holy things as God's representatives.
At that point (their baptism) God put His mark of approval on the ministry of Aaron and his sons.

The Bible tells us that Jesus' ministry began with His baptism by John.
After His baptism, the Father anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit as it descended on Him in form of a dove. And the Father put His mark of approval on Jesus by loudly declaring:
"This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:17

This was the beginning of Jesus' ministry as our High Priest.
Did you realize Jesus was our High Priest?
Indeed He is!
Hebrews 4:14: "...we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God..."

From the day of His baptism by John at the Jordan until His death on the Cross, Jesus (as our High Priest) prepared the ultimate sacrifice for our sins... His own body.

 
Contributed By:
Jeff Strite
 
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BAPTISM: CLOTHED IN CHRIST

Just this last week we baptized a 9-year-old boy into Christ. His name is J.J. J.J. knew all the answers to the questions I posed to him, but his father was concerned that his young son viewed baptism as a "magic act" that would make all kinds of marvelous changes without J.J.'s having to do anything at all.

So after I baptized him, I had a little talk with J.J. I explained to him that Galatians 3 says that when we are "baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ." Galatians 3:27 I then explained to him that none of us can make it into heaven just as we are. We've sinned. We've all messed up. I have, the Elders have, the Sunday School teachers have, his mom and dad have. But Galatians is telling us that when we're baptized into Christ we put cover ourselves with Jesus.

(At this I put my hands over his face like a mask, and said) "That means that when I come before the judgment seat... all God is going to see is Jesus. He won't see 'me' -- He won't see my sinful past and bad decisions or actions. All He'll see is Jesus, because I'm clothed in Jesus (that's one of the beauties of baptism by immersion, because it best conveys that truth).

"So, J.J., do you think Jesus would lie?"

"No," he said

"That's right," I replied. "And because you've now been 'clothed' in Christ, you shouldn't lie either, should you?"

"No," he said.

"And J.J., do you think Jesus would cheat?... do you think Jesus would hurt anyone?"

"No," he replied.

"That's right," I replied. "And you shouldn't either should you? Because when you were baptized you were clothed in Jesus, right?"

"No," he replied, "I shouldn't."

Then I drove J.J. home. While we were driving along, J.J. shared how a young boy in his neighborhood wanted to fight him. And I could sense the youthful pride in his voice...he could whip this neighbor boy. So I asked him "J.J., what do you think Jesus would do with this neighbor boy? Do you think He'd fight him, or would he do something else?"

J.J. was quiet for awhile and then said "I don't know."

"Well, J.J. why don't you pray about that? Then you do whatever you think Jesus would do about it, OK?"

The beauty of baptism is that it drives home the fact that in our salvation, we are changed into the image of Christ. We put on Christ (Galatians 3:27, KJV). And that was the truth J.J. needed to hear.

 
Contributed By:
Edward Frey
 
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There’s another beautiful picture of baptism given here: “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Did you catch it? Baptism clothes us with Christ. We’re wrapped up in Jesus and all of his goodness in baptism. We’re clothed with his work and his righteousness. Armani, Gucci, Abercrombie and Fitch – none of those designer labels can compare with the garments we have in Jesus’ name. God “clothes” us with forgiveness and salvation. In other words, he says that these things are ours. They’re real, just like a change of clothes. All who believe that these garments are theirs have what’s needed to be part of God’s family.
The Lord offers a wonderful wardrobe for his people. It’s his Son’s life, death, and resurrection. These are ours to “wear” spiritually. God does have a dress code for his family. This is what identifies the Christian as such. Let’s face it. People often wear the clothes they do because the want to be noticed. Quite often it’s the label or the name brand that supposedly makes a person a “somebody.” Well, you want to be labeled as a “somebody”, then be labeled as one who is wrapped up with Jesus. Be labeled with Christ. Be proud that you are a Christian. Don’t be ashamed of all the Christ has done for you! God has made you part of his family.

 
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The Unbaptized Arm

Ivan the Great was the tsar of all of Russia during the Fifteenth Century. He brought together the warring tribes into one vast empire--the Soviet Union. As a fighting man he was courageous. As a general he was brilliant. He drove out the Tartars and established peace across the nation.

However, Ivan was so busy waging his campaigns that he did not have a family. His friends and advisers were quite concerned. They reminded him that there was no heir to the throne, and should anything happen to him the union would shatter into chaos. "You must take a wife who can bear you a son." The busy soldier statesman said to them that he did not have the time to search for a bride, but if they would find a suitable one, he would marry her.

The counselors and advisers searched the capitals of Europe to find an appropriate wife for the great tsar. And find her, they did. They reported to Ivan of the beautiful dark eyed daughter of the King of Greece. She was young, brilliant, and charming. He agreed to marry her sight unseen.

The King of Greece was delighted. It would align Greece in a favorable way with the emerging giant of the north. But there had to be one condition, "He cannot marry my daughter unless he becomes a member of the Greek Orthodox Church." Ivan’s response, "I will do it!"

So, a priest was dispatched to Moscow to instruct Ivan in Orthodox doctrine. Ivan was a quick student and learned the catechism in record time. Arrangements were concluded, and the tsar made his way to Athens accompanied by 500 of his crack troops--his personal palace guard.

He was to be baptized into the Orthodox church by immersion, as was the custom of the Eastern Church. His soldiers, ever loyal, asked to be baptized also. The Patriarch of the Church assigned 500 priests to give the soldiers a one-on-one catechism crash course. The soldiers, all 500 of them, were to be immersed in one mass baptism. Crowds gathered from all over Greece.

What a sight that must have been, 500 priests and 500 soldiers, a thousand people, walking into the blue Mediterranean. The priests were dressed in black robes and tall black hats, the official dress of the Orthodox Church. The soldiers wore their battle uniforms with of all their regalia--ribbons of valor, medals of courage. and their weapons of battle.

Suddenly, there was a problem. The Church prohibited professional soldiers from being members; they w...

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Did you hear about the Baptist Who got together and purchased their Pastor some rubber wadders so he wouldn’t get wet in the baptism pool so the Methodist heard about it and purchased their Pastor some rubber gloves

 
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The story is told about the baptism of King Aengus by St. Patrick in the middle of the fifth century. Sometime during the rite, St. Patrick leaned on his sharp-pointed staff and inadvertently stabbed the king’s foot. After the baptism was over, St. Patrick looked down at all the blood, realized what he had done, and begged the king’s forgiveness.

Why did you suffer this pain in silence, the Saint wanted to know.

The king replied, “I thought it was part of the ritual.”

Knowing the Face of God, Tim Stafford, p. 121ff

 
Contributed By:
Austin Mansfield
 
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Jeffrey Dahmer was a convicted murderer and cannibal who cooked and ate his victims. You don’t really get much more heinous than that. He was awarded 16 life sentences. While in prison, Dahmer met with Roy Ratcliff, a minister with the Church of Christ in Madison, Wisconsin, and turned his life over to Jesus Christ. He was baptized in prison, knowing that he would never leave prison alive. He had nothing to gain in this life, but everything to gain in the next.

We may scoff at jailhouse conversions, but within months of Dahmer’s baptism, people noticed a Christian spirit in him. His father and pen pals noticed the difference, and his father, who had left the church, has since been restored as a faithful member. Dahmer’s younger brother also had a conversion experience of his own.

Dahmer was killed in prison by a fellow inmate a few months after his baptism. At his memorial service, along with his own family and several Christians, two sisters of one of his victims attended, having grown close to Dahmer’s family after their brother’s death.

That may have been Dahmer’s last chance for repentance, and he took it. But many of us think he shouldn’t have been given another chance. He didn’t deserve it. And that’s true. He didn’t deserve another chance. But neither do we.

 
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FOX SPORTS PLAY OF THE DAY

"Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’" (Acts 2:38).
Pat Summerall spent 50 years with the national Football League. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1952 and played with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants until 1961. After his retirement from the game, he joined CBS as a broadcaster, and in 1993 switched to Fox. During his CBS years he and a fellow broadcaster partied hard off the field. "We raised Cain. I was the first guy at the bar and the last to leave." Summerall was told that if he kept on drinking he was going to die.
After checking himself into the Betty Ford Clinic, his counselor urged him to seek a better life through faith. At age 66, Pat Summerall was baptized. In USA Today he told a reporter that when the minister "leaned me back in the water, I never felt so helpless." Summerall testified, "I knew I just became a Christian. I can’t tell you how great life has been since then."
Baptism is a faith response to the gospel of Christ. In baptism we are indeed helpless. We are sinners in t...

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Contributed By:
Chad Wright
 
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In Eastern lands, people used public baths and got dressed again; as they walked in the dusty streets, their feet became dirty. On arriving home, they did not need another bath; they needed only to wash their feet. When the Jewish priests were ordained, they were washed all over (Ex. 29:4), which pictures our once-for-all cleansing; but God also provided the laver (Ex. 30:17–21) for them to use in the daily washing of their hands and feet.
Application: So it is with the believer. When we are saved, we are washed all over. Paul put it this way, “[God] saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5–6). At Baptism, we were thoroughly washed and robed in Christ’s righteousness. When we confess our daily sins to the Lord, we have our feet washed and our “walk” is cleansed. Christ’s Spirit washes His church with Baptismal water through the Word (Eph. 5:25–26). As we daily read the Word and confess our sins, the Spirit cleanses our souls and guides us. It is this daily cleansing of the Spirit that keeps the believer in communion with Christ.

 
Contributed By:
Thomas Donelan
 
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BAPTIZED CUCUMBERS

What is this (a cucumber), and what is this (a pickle?) No, it is a baptized Cucumber! A few thoughts on this:

1. When those cucumbers are put in that pickling jar and covered with the pickling juice and sealed, they do not get any more juice, they are heated and stored for several weeks. Likewise we get no more of the Holy Spirit at Baptism then we had when we were saved.
2. The effect of the juice on the cucumber changes it so much it gets a new name: the pickle. It has a new taste, a new texture, even a new feel. This happens because the juice changes the characteristics of the cucumber. Like the pickling juices work from the outside in, the Holy Spirit works from the inside out.

 
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