There are many different denominational opinions of baptism but where do we, as Christians, find what we consider the 1st example of baptism? Of course, most will point to John the Baptist, who did go to the River Jordan and baptize many people including Jesus Himself.
So let’s use this also as the starting point. John the Baptist was the last of the prophets from the Levitical line of priests, therefore, really bringing an end to the Old Testament, the Law.
Now Jesus arrives as one that breaks the traditions of the Law and offers a really deeper way. John said of Jesus when he saw Him that “behold the one who takes away the sin of the world”. Remember John also said that he baptized with water but one would come after him whose sandals he wasn’t even able to untie who would baptize with fire and power, one who had the power over darkness.
So why did Jesus come to be baptized? Not for the remission of sins. Jesus was sinless. He was the new man. Jesus was now to begin His God-ordained daily earthly ministry and by His baptism Jesus was showing that we are baptized to take on the Spirit of authority Jesus had over sin.
He was now ready to take on the authority, just as we are. We are not to go and get baptized and then sit around or be ineffective. When we are baptized, it is time for us to take on the power that God provides.
Jesus said, “Old things pass away, but I come to make all new.” Jesus was the real separation on the Old Testament period passing and the New Testament period beginning. And we should be baptized, not just to wash off the old to put on the new, but to truly be changed. Because we have the authority to change the world and defeat sin for we are to take on the image of Jesus and His victorious life.
John baptized the people unto life with God but that changed and began the baptism to the life of Jesus in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that gives us the power to follow this new life and bring to pass the miracle-working power of God’s Kingdom.
When Jesus exited the scene and turned it over to man, He did so by fully releasing the powerful ability of the Holy Spirit to work in us and then through us. When baptism comes to its fullest, we are to be completely obedient to the will of God.
In the Old Testament, the priest would take a goat out into the wilderness and for 3 days lead him until he would fight no more for his will but the will to only be led. Then the goat, who had yielded himself to his master, was left as a sacrifice for the sins of the people.
Then when Jesus came on the scene, He fasted and prayed forty days after His baptism. He was tested and tempted to have His own way on the last 3 days but He yielded to the spirit and was then ready for His next journey of 3 years preparing Him for the sacrifice of all mankind.
It took Jesus to the place of having to sweat drops of blood to give Him the strength to endure the death He would face for the sins of the people of the world. Jesus was a spotless lamb but no coward. He had learned to be obedient to the will of His Father.
Baptism is more than just a ritual. It is a complete new way of life. Unless you are truly willing to get rid of the old and be willing to accept the new, the responsibility of living for God’s Kingdom, baptism is only an act not a life changing point. But if you’ll be serious about wanting to become different and serve the Lord Jesus as a real disciple, then your true life’s journey has begun.