Baptisms are happening on Easter Sunday at HTCD! So, the question being raised is do we need to be baptised today? It’s a debate (perhaps argument is a better word?!) that has been going on for some time now in the wider church. Aren’t we baptised as babies? Do adults need to be ‘re-baptised”? Is there a right or wrong position in all this??
Jesus’ parents fulfilled their duties by taking Jesus to the temple when 8 days old by dedicating him and having him circumcised. But nearly 30 years later he turns up at one of John’s baptismal events and asks to be baptised by John. The baptism of Jesus is recorded in the first three gospels and also mentioned in John’s gospel. In the story, we see that Jesus approaches John the Baptist and asks to be baptised. John has been proclaiming the gospel and baptising those who repented of their sin, wanted to make right their relationship with God, and were awaiting the coming Messiah. He saw a nation that had walked away from obedience to God and wanted to help them return to Him. John is astonished that Jesus, the sinless Son of God, is asking to be baptised and remonstrates that he should be the one asking Jesus to be baptised not the other way round!
In all the accounts, the baptism was a crucial first step Jesus took as he began his ministry, an approximately three-year journey that would eventually lead him to the cross. According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus was 30 years old when he was baptised.
Jesus tells John that His baptism is "fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness". Jesus is baptised as a symbol of giving His will up to His Father and the beginning of His earthly ministry. God affirmed Jesus' baptism in a powerful way as recorded in Matthew's Gospel. As soon as Jesus was baptised and came up out of the water, the heavens opened. John sees the Spirit of God descending like a dove upon Jesus and they hear God's voice from heaven say "This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved." As Jesus rose from the water, God the Father spoke monumental words about who Jesus was, which left no question that Jesus was indeed the anticipated Messiah and beloved Son of God. Jesus didn’t need to repent or turn from sin, rather, his baptism served as a sign to John, and future generations of believers, that he was the Messiah. With this confirmation in place, John's mission to prepare the way for the Messiah was complete.
Jesus' baptism account is a beautiful portrayal of the loving union of the Trinity – Father, Son, and Spirit. This moment in his life marked the beginning of his ministry in which he was partaking in the human experience fully as the spotless lamb of God sent to save the world. So, the argument today shouldn’t be about being baptised into the church (often as a baby) versus adult baptism. Instead, after making your own decision to follow Jesus and repent, baptism enables you to publically share your decision to become a disciple of Jesus.
Want to make a public declaration of your faith? I think ‘believers baptism’ is one important step in our discipleship journey. Paul emphasised the process of believing first and then baptism.
- Malc Morgan (Senior Associate Minster for STACC)
Want to be baptised? Get in touch with our vicar, Shawn Swinney, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Bible Verses about Baptism
"And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptised 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." - Acts 2:38
"Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" - 1 Peter 3:21
"Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." - John 3:5
"We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life." - Romans 6:4
"For in one Spirit we were all baptised into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit." - 1 Corinthians 12:13