Sunday, Easter Sunday, I was baptized. Exciting.
There was a time in my life I would have quickly shrugged off such news. But now, now I love baptisms. They are powerful. They are true. I cannot watch one with choking back tears. I then shout and cheer to the change that God has brought about in ones life. Despite all this, although I spent a good chunk of my young adult life far from God and the church. I had been baptized as a baby and I guess I kind of always looked to that as enough for me.
Last Tuesday morning I woke up from a dream. It was Easter at Sojourn and I was getting baptized. Dan and Loring were there and Kostya, too. It also was outside in some huge field and it was definitely not Uganda. I was looking for Loring for the longest time to tell her I decided to be baptized and finally she called me to say she was at the Fender store on Wade Avenue. I was like, “You are in Raleigh?!?!!” Anyways, my point is I had this dream and was like, weird. I shared it with Dan and Loring and left it at that, it was just a vivid crazy dream.
Wednesday is my day off and I spent my morning handwashing my dirty clothes while listening to a randomly selected sermon. It was on Matthew 3, talking about John the Baptist and Jesus’ baptism. Throughout the sermon I heard things like:
Jesus’ baptism, in part, is about his identification with sinners. As we, in baptism, identify with Jesus in his life, death and resurrection. He who had no sin took his place among those who had no righteousness. That is the essence of what Jesus came to do. Illustrated in the very beginning of his ministry by his being baptized.
He is modeling the obedience for his followers that he will eventually command of his followers. He begins his ministry by showing what will be central in our mission. Baptism is not something we made up, it’s not some manmade invention, it is something God made up and told every follower of his to do. Something that he’s told us to do in every nation.
It is all throughout scripture - John the Baptist, repent and be baptized. Jesus, repent and be baptized. Peter’s first Christian sermon, repent and be baptized. The message of the New Testament, the new covenant – repent and be baptized. Turn from your sin. Trust in the Son. Rest in his righteousness.
The New Testament knows nothing of an unbaptized Christian. They don’t even exist. It’s the fruit of faith in him. Baptism is the biblical visual public picture of saving identification with Christ. Be baptized, Christian.
I became a Christian in 2008. It was then I believed. It was then that I began a life marked with repentance from sin. Yet, I was never baptized. I mean, it’s kind of embarrassing, right? Shameful even. I’m a missionary in Africa for goodness sake. This is Chrisitanity 101 stuff. What an amateur. Had the conviction of my disobedience not been so painfully clear I would have happily changed the subject in my mind and shrugged this off once again, but that did it for me. It was clear. This was happening.
Later that day I sheepishly told Dan and Loring I wanted to be baptized with the masses on Easter. As you can see from the shots below, they graciously welcomed it.
Oh, happy day!
If you are interested in checking out the sermon on Matthew 3 you can do so here. It’s the one titled “Repentance and Resolutions”.