13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented. 16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Matthew 3:13-17 NIV
Out on the cattle ranches the unbranded calves that roam at large are known as “mavericks.” They are claimed by the man who, is first to get his brand on them at the annual round up.
A little girl had been baptized one Sunday by the Methodist minister of the town. Her schoolmates questioned her the next day as to the meaning of the ceremony. “Well,” she said, “I will just tell you. I was a little maverick out on the prairie and that man put the Jesus mark on my forehead so that when He sees me He will know that I am one of His children.” 1
We are blessed to celebrate a baptism this week at church. I want to pause for a moment to explore the crucial role of the ordinance in our faith and our lives. My baptism remains one of my favorite church memories.
Water baptism is an outward sign of what has already happened in a Christian. As Jesus told Nicodemus, we must be born again spiritually.
and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[a] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21 (NIV)
Jesus asked John the Baptist to baptize him and commanded the disciples to baptize new believers.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
From the inception of the church until now, the ordinance identifies us with our Savior. According to Acts 2:41, the apostles baptized those who accepted the gospel.
Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. Acts 2:41 (NIV)
Baptism is our brand, our mark and, our public declaration of faith. Notice that Jesus did not say believers or converts. We are called to obey the teachings of Christ and to make disciples. We are called to follow, love, and obey the Lamb of God and Lion of Judah. If you believe in Christ but have not yet received baptism, please follow the example of Jesus.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise you for allowing us to join Your family. We thank you for the salvation we find in the arms of Your Son and the empowering work of Your Spirit. Guide us as we make disciples and spread the gospel throughout the world. Amen.
Source: 1 Expositor and Current Anecdotes, Volume 16, 1914.