about LIFE and Belief - why are we here?
Firstly, what did water baptism mean in the physical sense, as referred to in the Bible? What did the Greek word for baptism in the original scripts mean?
I wonder: did the translators dodge the issue by anglicising the Greek
word Baptizo into Baptism and Baptise?
John the Baptist and Water Baptism
If we now look at the pattern of water baptism set by John the Baptist, he 'immersed'
people in a river: the River Jordan, baptising them for the
forgiveness of sins. He
submerged them and raised them up again,
symbolising the act of dying to our sins and being raised to eternal life;
of being washed clean. This would have been a more thorough ceremonial cleansing than the
ceremonial washing that people had to comply with before they were
allowed to enter the Temple.
How was Jesus baptised?
Let's take Jesus as our example: he was a 30-year old adult when he was baptised by John the Baptist. The Biblical pattern is adult baptism by informed, conscious decision. Look at the wording in the Bible: in Acts 2:38, Peter said "Repent AND be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins."
Note the words "repent and"... Baptism goes with belief; faith and repentance.
Powerful symbol, powerful witness
Baptism is a powerful symbol of starting a new life in Jesus Christ; it is a powerful experience within the individual; it is a powerful witness to others. Is it "really necessary"? I think perhaps not. With God, all things are possible. After all, the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus had no opportunity to be baptised, but Jesus told him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-44). It was the thief's change of heart that saved him; the 'baptism' was an inner turn-around, a being born again.
However, can I tell you something? I did not understand why it was thought so special, until I witnessed someone's baptism by full immersion in water, (as it happened, this was in a Baptist Church). And then I just knew it was for me. A few months later, my wife and I were baptised on the same day, and I bear witness to you that it was a very special and spiritual blessing, that I will never forget.
Jesus' last instructions
Before Jesus left this earth to return to His Father in heaven, He said to
His disciples, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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. And surely I am with you
always, to the very end of the age."
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"For God so loved the world that
he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have