The announcement couldn’t have been clearer: “Water baptism is not an option for the believer in Jesus. Please sign up for baptism. Baptismal classes begin in 2 weeks time.” After the service, a young man confronted the pastor. “Pastor, I am saved by grace and not through baptism. I don’t see the need for baptism.”
John the Baptizer called the Jews to repent of their sins and to turn to God (Matthew 3:2). He preached that “people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven” (Luke 3:3). “And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River” (Matthew 3:6). According to John, baptism is an outward symbol of inward repentance and reveals a commitment to live a holy life.
Jesus was sinless (1 John 3:5), so John refused to baptize Him because he felt unqualified (Matthew 3:11-14). But Jesus insisted (Matthew 3:15).
Why was Jesus baptized when He didn’t need to be? Did it signify Jesus’ acceptance of the suffering that He would endure as Savior, foreshadowing His death and resurrection? (Mark 10:38; Luke 12:50). Did it allow Him to identify with the sinful people He came to save? Jesus Himself tells us why He did it: “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires” (Matthew 3:15).
Water baptism does not save us (Ephesians 2:8-9), but that doesn’t mean that it’s unimportant or unnecessary. Once saved, you need to testify outwardly of your inward repentance and affirm your commitment to live a holy life (Romans 6:3-6). Baptism allows you to testify publicly that you’re a believer in Jesus (Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12).
It boils down to simple obedience. If Jesus obeyed the Father’s command, why wouldn’t you?
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Samuel 15:1-37
Read Acts 2:38,41, Acts 8:12,36-38, Acts 9:18, Acts 16:14-15,31-33, Acts18:8, Acts 22:16 and notice that those who believed in Jesus were immediately baptized.
What do you think is the significance of baptism? If you haven’t been baptized, what’s stopping you?