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."”