Once we begin to follow Jesus, it is good to follow up with baptism. Baptism with water is a way to positively identify with Jesus and is almost universal among followers of Jesus.
Why are Believers Baptized?
There are several reasons why baptism is such a universal practice.
1. Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist to prepare for the Kingdom of God. We identify with Jesus and follow his example in baptism. The Kingdom of God is just an older special term for those who are aligned with Jesus and the Father. You can read about Jesus’ baptism in Mark chapter 1, Matthew chapter 3, and Luke chapter 3.
2. Jesus instructed his followers to baptize new followers. Matthew chapter 28 reports,
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
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, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
3. The symbolism of baptism reminds us of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. So, when we are baptized, we identify with Jesus in that way as well. Paul writes in Romans chapter 6,
Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
4. Baptism is a public statement of identity with Jesus. Once we learn about the good news of Jesus and embrace it in our lives, the next logical step is to identify with Jesus in a definite, public way.
Is Baptism a Condition of Acceptance by God?
No. There are no pre-requisites for following Jesus, but baptism is a way to identify with Jesus in a definite way. It signals our commitment to aligning with Jesus.
How does Baptism Work?
The practices of baptism vary from group to group. Some baptize infants who are born to followers of Jesus. If this is the case, they will also baptize older children and adults who become followers of Jesus later in life. Other groups baptize only older children and adults.
The method of baptism also varies. Many groups sprinkle or pour water on the heads of the new follower. Others dip the new follower briefly under the water’s surface; this is usually done in a baptistry (water tank) in the church, but sometimes natural bodies of water or even a swimming pool are used. Sprinkling, pouring, and dipping are all valid methods of baptism.
Who Will Baptize Me?
Most churches have guidelines about who can baptize others, but this is not always the case. Some groups require membership in their church for baptism, while others will baptize anyone who has become a follower of Jesus. Check with any church or Christian minister to learn more.
Baptism is a positive and rewarding step for those who begin to follow Jesus.
In this series:
Making the Good News of Jesus Your Own
Choosing to Identify with Jesus
Does Behavior Matter?
Loving God and Others Makes Rules Obsolete
A Delightful Insight into Behavior
Growing as a Follower of Jesus
What is the Good News of Jesus Anyway?