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You are here: Home  > Faith Alive! | February 2014

Faith Alive! | February 2014

In Faith Alive! this issue:

  • Editorial Commitment
  • COVER FEATURE: Commitment and baptism
  • Baptism in the Bible
  • Why Jesus believed baptism was so important
  • Who’s who?
  • Father, Son & Holy Spirit
  • Why I was baptized
  • Excuses, excuses …
  • The Baptist Confession of Faith 1660
  • Zechariah’s visions
  • Psalm 107
  • A better legacy than Mandela’s
  • Loving by giving
  • Youth Conferences
  • Bible commitment quiz

A sample article from this edition:

Why Jesus believed baptism was important

(Matthew 3:15)

John the Baptist came with a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. [1] That Jesus was also baptized by John [2] might seem surprising. We are given to understand, without qualification, that Jesus committed no sins. [3] That one without sin consented to water baptism leaves the rest of us, finding ourselves dead in our sins, [4] without excuse but to follow his example in this ritual.

Jesus’ baptism by John is for some other reason than his personal repentance for the forgiveness of his own sins. The Gospel of John gives a reason – that through his baptism John the Baptist (and Israel) would be provided with assurance as to the identity of the Son of God. [5] Such revelation for both John the Baptist and Christ himself came with the tearing open [6] of heaven, the descent of the Holy Spirit and the heavenly Father’s voice of approval.

Jesus himself also gives a reason

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he consented.” [7]

John the Baptist saw no need for Jesus’ baptism, expressing rather his own need to be baptized by Jesus. Jesus tells us that in John baptizing him they were to “fulfil all righteousness”. This is rather an enigmatic saying, but it is clearly not a confession of sins by Jesus. Amongst the explanations of this saying offered, the weightiest in my view is this: the water baptism was a fitting foreshadowing of the greater baptism with which the Christ would be baptized. [8]

His seeking for water baptism shows us that right from the start of his public ministry he understood, and was fully immersed in, his own destiny. In water baptism Jesus saw the symbol of his own ultimate baptism. His death and rising again accomplished later at Jerusalem were the reality of which water baptism was merely the symbol. To have denied John’s water baptism at that moment would have been to deny the ultimate will of his heavenly Father. [9] The message of these two baptisms of Jesus is consistent: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. [10]

Kevin Rawlings

[1] Mark 1:4

[2] Mark 1:9, Luke 3:21

[3] 2 Corinthians 5:21, Hebrews 4:15, 1 Peter 2:22

[4] Ephesians 2:1-7

[5] John 1:29-34

[6] Mark 1:10

[7] Matthew 3:13-15 (ESV cited)

[8] Mark 10:38-39, Luke 12:50

[9] Isaiah 53:10, Luke 22:42-43, John 12:27-28, Acts 2:23

[10] 1 Corinthians 15:50


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