The English word baptize is derived from the original Greek word of the New Testament which literally meant to immerse in water. As the Scriptures above make clear, Jesus Christ considered baptism to be an important act, so much so that He insisted on it when John hesitated to baptize Him. Jesus' baptism was then done in The Jordan River, perhaps not far from the place shown in the photograph at right.
Jesus' baptism was of course done solely to set an example for the repentant, since He had absolutely nothing to repent of, and absolutely no sins to be forgiven. But why is baptism in water important? Why wouldn't Jesus take "no" for answer, even with Himself?
An Act Of Sincere Repentance
Those who repented were always baptized in water:
"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 clear conscience." (1 Peter 3:21 RSV)
Water Baptism and The Holy Spirit
With repentance and baptism comes The Holy Spirit:
"And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied." (Acts 19:4-6 RSV)
"For they heard them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, "Can any one forbid water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." (Acts 10:47-48 RSV)
A Symbol Death, Burial and Resurrection
Baptism symbolizes the death (of the old self, by repentance), burial (by immersion in the water) and resurrection (the coming up out from under the water) to those who repent:
"and you were buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." (Colossians 2:12 RSV)
An Important Step Toward Salvation
Jesus insisted upon water baptism for Himself. Christians should do no less for themselves:
"He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:16 RSV)
Fact Finder: What was one of the very first acts of repentance done by hostile Saul, who later became the apostle Paul?
See also On The Road To Damascus
Plus much, much more on the same CD!
Classic Works of Biblical History
Hebrew and Greek Alphabets
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