Summary: The seeker is hungry to understand Scripture. With the explanation, seeks to go deeper and be baptized. Like this reading, it need not be complicated nor by some rigid ritual; it may be spontaneous and thereby even more meaningful.
March 28, 2018
Reading: Acts 8:26-40
So, You Want to Get Baptized
This to me, this is one of the most enjoyable readings in the New Testament. It sets an example for us that is extremely vivid.
Let me first narrate a modern day parallel story based upon personal observations and “churchy” experiences.
Philip is the deacon in a very popular church and dedicated to serving the senior pastor and the church family. Philip wakes up one morning and finds an angel standing at the foot of his bed. The angel says, “Philip get up and drive down to the picnic area of the state park."
So, Philip gets up; gets dressed and heads out. As soon as he gets there, he sees the governor’s chauffeur parked in the shade, relaxing with his Ipad, tuned in to a King James version of the bible. Philip was fairly curious because the chauffeur is a foreign national from a country where Buddhism is the prevailing religious practice.
Philip asks him if he understands what he is reading. The chauffeur answers saying, “How can I, unless someone guides me? Get in and help me understand." The chauffeur drives down the park road while they are talking, and Philip is preaching the gospel. As they rounded a curve they came upon a pristine lake. The chauffeur asks Philip, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”
Philip answers him, “You see, first you must come to church and attend our course of instruction on baptism.” The chauffeur becomes confused and when Philip gets out of the car, drives off, never to be seen again.
As you are thinking to yourself, “That does not parallel the reading.” No, it certainly does not. However, for whatever reasons, that is a practice in many churches.
Now lest you be confused, let me say that the example of Philip and this eunuch is that when someone understands what baptism is, what it means and has a desire to be baptized, it should not be made complicated or even a formal ritual. Philip explained the Scripture to the eunuch and was convinced that he understood and desired to be baptized.
Baptism should not be limited to a church baptistry. In my experience through the years, I have baptized jailed inmates in a wheelbarrow filled with water, in the Dominican Republic many in the Caribbean Ocean or at the waterfalls in a stream, in swimming pools and other such locations.
Becoming a Christian and becoming a baptized Christian need not be via some ritual where more attention is paid to format than to the purpose.
I certainly hope this message is clear and not confusing. I am available to meet with you for further discussion. If need be. I am also available to baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.
Let us pray -