Why Baptism?

Jesus had people baptised by His disciples when He was ministering on earth. Baptism existed in Judaism as a means of bringing people into the Jewish religion. John the Baptist introduced a Baptism for repentance to Jewish people wanting to make a new start with God.  In this way he prepared the way for Jesus. After His death and Resurrection Jesus gave this command in Matthew 28…

Matthew 28:18-20  18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations,* baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

  • What authority did Jesus have in giving this command?
  • What did Jesus command His disciples to do?
  • What does it mean to baptise in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
  • Why is Baptism important?

Jesus was baptised

At the time when John the Baptist was baptising people Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith also went to be baptised.

Matthew 3:13-17   13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.14 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?”  15 But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.*” So John agreed to baptize him.  16 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.17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”

  • What reason did Jesus give for wishing to be baptised?
  • Why might John have been hesitant to baptise him?
  • How was Jesus affirmed by the Father?

Outward Sign

An outward sign is a physical action that is linked to a spiritual reality.  The most readily understandable outward sign is marriage.  Through promises made before witnesses, a couple become one person before God.  Baptism is a physical action that links to the spiritual reality of becoming a Christian. When one agrees to go into the water with someone to be baptised there is a question presented – Am I committed to this? Just as signing on the dotted line is a simple action with potentially huge ramifications, so Baptism is saying yes to Jesus and all that comes with Him. Paul teaches on Baptism. Colossians 2 and Peter in 1 Peter 3:20-31.

Colossians 2:12-13  12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.  13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.

1 Peter 3:20  God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood.*21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from* a clean conscience. It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

  • What is symbolised by entering and leaving the water?
  • What is the significance of this being done with Christ?
  • What is the spiritual significance of Baptism?
  • Is Baptism a symbol, or is it spiritual?

Acts 10: 44   Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.45 The Jewish believers* who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.46 For they heard them speaking in other tongues* and praising God.  Then Peter asked,47 “Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?”48 So he gave orders for them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Afterward Cornelius asked him to stay with them for several days

  • What convinced Peter that his non-Jewish audience had become Christians?
  • What was Peter’s response to their having become Christians?
  • What link was there between becoming a Christian and Baptism?

Acts 16: 29 The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas.30 Then he brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”  31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.”32 And they shared the word of the Lord with him and with all who lived in his household.33 Even at that hour of the night, the jailer cared for them and washed their wounds. Then he and everyone in his household were immediately baptized.34 He brought them into his house and set a meal before them, and he and his entire household rejoiced because they all believed in God.

  • Who believed in God in this passage?
  • Who were baptised in the passage?
  • What link was there between becoming a Christian and Baptism?

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