Summary: The world is confused about baptism. We follow Christ to the water to be baptized like him.
FOLLOWING JESUS TO THE WATER
FOCUS: THE BAPTISM OF JESUS GIVES PRINCIPLES THAT CHRISTIANS CAN FOOLOW AS THEY FOLLOW JESUS INTO THE WATER.
FUNCTION: TO ENCOURAGE CHRISTIANS TO FOLLOW JESUS INTO THE WATER AS A MODEL FOR BAPTISM.
In the religious world there have been many ways people have been baptized. Confusion circles around baptism. For instances, the United House of Prayer for All People in Charlotte, North Carolina faced a dilemma. They had a large group of people to baptize at their yearly baptismal service, but their church building and swimming pool were undergoing renovations, making them unable. Under the circumstances, immersing each person would have been time consuming and inconvenient, so they came up with a great idea: spray the whole group at once. A newspaper article reported, “When two thousand people want to be baptized, that’s a lot of dunking, and a lot of time. Clearly, baptism for fire hose is more efficient.” So the elders, assisted by local firefighters, sprayed a fine mist from a fire hose over the baptismal candidates lined up in the church parking lot.
The confusion around form of baptism remains. Some people say you can just sprinkle people with water. Other people say you can just pour water on people. Another groups say that you can spray water on people. While others contend that you must immense people in water. The form of baptism has been heatedly debated.
The confusion around the purpose of baptism has remained. Some people say that you should be baptized but it is only an outward sign of inward grace. Others baptize children and babies because they think that they are in sin. Many will only baptize adults. Some baptize for the remission of sins. Others baptize to fulfill all righteousness. Groups will baptize for the experiences of a ritual. Some feel like you have to re-baptize people. Others are against re-baptizing people. There are many reasons why people baptize today.
Like in all difficult situations we must follow Jesus to find the answers. We must follow Jesus into the Jordan River to be baptized. We find our model in Jesus’ baptism. The Gospel writer Luke gives us a belief description of Jesus’ baptism. Luke 3:21-22 says, “Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, "Thou art My beloved Son, in Thee I am well-pleased."” The Gospel writer Matthew also gives us an account of the baptism of Christ. “Matthew 3:13-17 states, “Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?" But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him. And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased."”
Many people can express different views about baptism, which can become confusing, but one cannot go wrong in following Jesus. When we follow Jesus into the water we learn of a model for the Christian baptism. In contrast to all the confusion in the world about baptism, the baptism of Christ clarifies the image of baptism.
The first image we receive from following Christ into the water is the model of immersion. The proper word for immersion is “baptizo” which means to be immersed into something; it is a complete burial. Jesus goes into the river Jordan to be submerged under the water. John carries out this baptize for Jesus after some reluctance on John’s part. John the Baptist had to be convinced that he was worth or predestined to immerse Christ. After John realized that Jesus wanted him to baptism him he fulfilled the request.
An interesting occurrence took place because they were confused over the baptism. This confusion was a frontrunner for the confusion today. Not everyone understands the necessity of baptism today. Some will even stand in the way of someone being baptized. For those who desire to follow Jesus into the water may have to assert themselves in order to be baptized after the Biblical model.
While we are following Jesus to the water, we are doing it with the same intent that Christ did. We follow Christ into the water to be baptism to fulfill all righteousness. There has been some debate on why Christ was baptized. Many could not understand why Christ was baptized because he had no sin. Since he was sinless he did not need his sins forgiven. Since baptism offers the forgiveness of sins. But on the other hand Christ had to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Righteousness is doing what is right. Christ followed all of God’s commands. He desired to follow the pattern and set the pattern for baptism in the future. We follow Jesus into the water to also do what is right in God’s eyes. We are baptized to please God and keep his commandments. We must attempt to do all that is right in the sight of the Lord.