Matthew 3

Matthew 3 Jesus’ Baptism

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:” (v. 16)

Here we see the baptism of Jesus. If He needed to be baptized, then isn’t it proper for us also to be? Jesus begins His ministry immediately after His baptism. There are no miracles, no recorded acts of Jesus’ ministry before this, so we believe it was the ushering in of His earthly ministry. It is the same for us, baptism is the beginning of a new life in Christ; not as salvation, with a new heart, and life, but the beginning of a new walk with Him. It is, as scripture says, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” (Rom. 6:4) We are symbolically buried with Him, and raised with Him to a new life.

Note the words “went up straightway out of the water” it sounds as if Jesus was dipped into the water, and raised up out of it. This is the way we baptize today in Baptist churches. John seemed to baptize this way, and not sprinkle water on the head of Jesus as some are wont to do with the people they baptize nowadays. The Father sent His seal of approval unto His Son immediately after He came up out of the water. This became the usual mode of baptism, with God’s stamp of approval on it. Jesus had to “fulfill all righteousness” in being baptized, (v. 15), and we must be baptized for the same reason. It is just the right thing to do.

The word “baptize” means to submerge, as if one was washing clothes, and submerged them completely in water. It always followed salvation in the Bible (whenever it was mentioned) and never preceded it. It was always immediate, after one accepted Christ’s sacrifice for his sin. Baptism has become one of two ordinances in the church today, the other being the communion, thus depicting the importance of such a rite. Baptism is the first act of obedience to our Lord after we are saved. If we fail to take this first step, we usually do not go any further in our Christian life. It is important that we are baptized, and that we encourage others to be baptized also. Remember, part of the “Great Commission” commands us to baptize them, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

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