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Baptism

I came to Jesus and decided to follow Him at the age of 12. I was immediately baptized in water. Being a part of the Baptist denomination at the time, I was immersed. I consider this good news. I am a new creation in Jesus. I have been born again to newness of life. w00t!

We rehearsed how it would all come down with the minister before hand. They gave me a folded handkerchief that I was to give to the minister right before it happened.

Stapled to the cloth was my name, so he wouldn’t forget who I was or say the wrong name. It was quite the ritual but it meant something to me.

It still does!

It was a VERY long time ago but here is what the minister said:

Based upon your profession of faith in the Master Jesus the Messiah, I now baptize you in the name of the Father and Son and Holy Spirit. Buried with Him in the likeness of His death, raised with Him in the likeness of His resurrection to walk in the newness of life.

Baptism (βάπτισμα, baptisma) is the act of washing in water as part of a purification ritual. The rite of formal initiation into the the discipleship of Jesus through water. Regarded by many the followers as a sacrament (though some groups prefer the term ordinance). Though several allusions to baptism exist in the Old Testament, baptism is primarily a New Testament concept.

Since its origins in Jewish religious life, the disciple’s baptism has served as a symbol of passing from death into life through the Messiah’s resurrection, and denominational churches have continued to contemplate the paradoxical mystery and concreteness of the practice. Baptism began as a ritual to initiate new believers into the Jewish religion and continued to serve as a purifying mechanism in Jewish religious life.

After the time of John the Baptist, baptism took on an expanded meaning, as it signified turning from death to life through the power of the Messiah’s death and resurrection. Over time, the apostles and early church fathers developed this doctrine further, and the practice began to take on new meaning for different communities of faith throughout the centuries.

Jesus the Messiah was baptized by John: Jesus set the example and was baptized by John.

Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?”  But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him.  After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” | Matthew 3:13–17

How did it all start? Washing was the means of achieving ritual purity in the old covenant. It carried through to the new covenant time. The Jewish people understood what it meant.

  • Exodus 30:19–20  — “Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet from it; when they enter the tent of meeting, they shall wash with water, so that they will not die; or when they approach the altar to minister, by offering up in smoke a fire sacrifice to the Master.
  • Mark 7:3–4  — (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they carefully wash their hands, thus observing the traditions of the elders; and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they cleanse themselves; and there are many other things which they have received in order to observe, such as the washing of cups and pitchers and copper pots.)
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