Bible Reading: John 3:22-36
Baptism is an act of faith by which we publicly proclaim that we have accepted Jesus as our Savior. It is also a beautiful picture of what it means to have our sins washed away and to begin a new life with Him. Fact: if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior…and you have not been baptized…then next Sunday, this very next Sunday…you need to tell your Pastor that you want to be baptized. Don’t wait. Don’t make excuses. Just do it.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Go Gators! I’ve cheered for my team on many occasions. In fact, whether I am watching the Gators play football, or basketball, or baseball, or softball, or…just about any other sport…I will usually be wearing some kind of Gator t-shirt, or jersey, or sweats. That way there is no doubt who my team is. I’m proud to be a part of Gator Nation and I wear our colors. Go Gators!
One time, when we lived in Orlando, I performed a wedding on a Saturday afternoon. Now, normally that would not be a problem. But on that particular Saturday the Gators were playing their arch, cross-state rival, the Florida State Seminoles. Booooh! Go Gators! The wedding was held at our church and the reception afterwards was being held at a beautiful old hotel that was located a short distance out of town. Immediately after the wedding ceremony I jumped into my car and headed for the hotel. I knew that the game was already being played and I intended to listen to it on the car radio while I drove. Finally, I arrived at the hotel, went inside, and started walking down a long hallway trying to find the room where the reception was going to be held. Suddenly, I heard something? “What’s that? It sounds like a football game.” I sprinted down the hallway towards the sound. Just as I turned the corner and ran through the door into a large room the Gators scored a touchdown. I threw up my arms and shouted with great glee and gusto…“Gooooo Gators!”. There was absolute silence. There must have been 200 people gathered in that room watching the game on a large television. When I shouted…399 eyes turned and looked at me (one guy had an eye patch). Very quickly I scanned the room. Oooops. This wasn’t good. All of those people were wearing garnet and gold shirts, and jerseys, and pants, and…well, you name it…it was garnet and gold. Did I tell you that Gator colors are orange and blue…and Seminole colors are garnet and gold? Oooops. I had accidentally busted in on a Seminole football party. I had accidentally busted in on a Seminole football party just as the Gators had scored. I had accidentally busted in on a Seminole football party just as the Gators had scored and shouted at the top of my voice, “Go Gators!” Oooops. As they used to say in the theater…”Exit, stage right.” I took off running as fast as I had entered. But I have to admit, about halfway down the hall I turned my head and yelled over my shoulder, “Go Gators!” I couldn’t resist.
Soon after Jesus began His public ministry people began to come to Him. They believed in Him and wanted to be one of His followers. So, to identify them as His disciples, He had them put on the team uniform. Do what? I said, they put on the team uniform. How did they do that? They were baptized. Baptism was a public expression of faith in Jesus that portrayed two things. One, it portrayed what happened to them when they accepted Jesus. Their sins were washed away and they entered into a new life with Him. Second, though they did not realize it until later, baptism also represented the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Now, and this is very important, the method that Jesus used to baptize people was absolutely necessary because His method portrayed visually…what His message proclaimed verbally. And listen, if you change the method…you change the message. So, how did Jesus baptize? Well, notice that it says that it says that He and John were both baptizing in a particular place because “there was much water”. Why was a lot of water necessary? Because the word “baptize” literally means to go under the water. It means to be completely immersed below the surface of the water. There had to be a lot of water…in order for someone to be completely immersed below the surface of the water. What was so important about being immersed? Remember, the method portrays visually…what the message proclaims verbally. The message of Jesus was the forgiveness of sins, the washing away of sins…and the beginning of a new life with Him. That can happen for one reason and one reason, only. Because Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead. Do you see the picture? Jesus is upright on the cross. Jesus was laid down in the grave. Jesus is standing upright again, alive. When you are baptized by immersion…you are standing up…you are lowered down into the water…you are raised back up. There is the picture. You die with Jesus on the cross. You are buried with Him in the grave. You are raised to walk in new life with Him. That is the message that baptism presents. If you change the method…you change the meaning.
Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? Then you need to be baptized…you need to put on the uniform…you need to let the world know that you belong to Him. You need to do it soon. There is no need to wait. And, you need to do it by the right method. If you change the method…you change the meaning. Go, put on the uniform for Jesus…be baptized. Tell the world, “Go Jesus!”
Love you more than bunches and bunches,