Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Baptism - Identification

But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.
Matthew 3:14-15 (NIV)

John’s Baptism was a baptism of repentance. Jesus requested a baptism of repentance. But why? Jesus was perfect. He knew no sin. 2 Corinthians 5:21 testifies, “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” Jesus is baptized with a baptism of repentance so that he could identify with us as the sacrifice for our sins.

Fast forward to Christian Baptism. In Christian Baptism we are identifying ourselves with Christ, His death, burial and resurrection as we go down into the water and then come up again. Romans 6:4 teaches us, “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

Just as Jesus identified Himself with our sinfulness, we identify ourselves with the abundant life He gives us through the victory He won for us on the cross. He identifies with our weakness and we identify with His strength. What a wonderful picture of God’s love and power shown to us in baptism.

Baptism is an important step in our Christian walk. It is a requirement for the obedient disciple. Acts 2:38, “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.” 1 Peter 3:21, “this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also--not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.” We celebrate with those obedient to God following Him in water baptism!