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June 20, 2016

The Most Unforgettable Baptism

“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk Him out of it. ‘I am the one who needs to be baptized by You,’ he said, ‘so why are You coming to me?’ But Jesus said, ‘It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.’ So John agreed to baptize Him. After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.’”  Matthew 3:13-17 (NLT)

I’ve had many unique experiences baptizing people, but none as unforgettable as when John baptized Jesus in the river Jordan.  In fact, the Bible says that John tried to talk Him out of it, saying, “I am the one who needs to be baptized by You, so why are You coming to me?”  John recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world, including his own sins.  John felt his own inadequacy and unworthiness to baptize Jesus. So, why was Jesus baptized?  Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”   

This is the fundamental reason why we are baptized today. God requires it of all believers.  When we are baptized today, we are following the example of Jesus and obeying the command of God.  In His final words, Jesus told His followers,

“Go then, to all the people everywhere and make them My disciples, baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and then teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20 (TEV)

We identify with Jesus when we are baptized just as Jesus identified Himself with sinners and not with the Pharisees who stood at a distance and only watched as John baptized those coming for repentance.  Being sinless, Jesus didn’t need to be baptized for repentance, but He was baptized in obedient service to the Father, and God showed His approval publicly. The Bible says, as Jesus was coming up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him.  And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is My beloved Son, who brings Me great joy.” Can you imagine what it must have been like to be at that baptism?  It was unlike any baptism John would ever do! Seeing a dove descend, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, and hearing the voice of the Father affirming His Son must have been unforgettable!

This simple act of obedience launched Jesus’ public ministry. It’s interesting to note that Jesus never performed a miracle until after His baptism.  His obedience to the Father opened the door for the Father to clothe His activity in the Son – just as when we obey Jesus’ commands, and He clothes His activity with our humanity. Could it be that the only thing preventing the activity of God in your life is this simple step of obedience?  Obedience brings blessing in our lives and great joy to the Father!  When you take this step in loving obedience, the most unforgettable baptism you’ll experience will be your own! I love the way the Living Bible paraphrases Romans 6:4 when it says,   

Your old sin-loving nature was buried with Him by baptism when He died; and when God the Father, with glorious power, brought Him back to life again, you were given His wonderful new life to enjoy. 

If you would like to follow Jesus in baptism, I invite you to join us at our second Super Summer Baptism Celebration on June 25th and 26th at a Woodlands Church campus near you. Over 600 people took that step at the last Super Summer Baptism. Register now and experience the refreshing power of believer’s baptism this weekend!