Sunday, April 06, 2008

Thoughts On The Baptism

Hello All,

For those who have been checking in, you know that Kingsfield Church held it's quarterly baptism this last Sunday. It was held at Ted and Fayanna's house, who are truly gifted with the gift of hospitality. As you can see from the pictures, space was limited, and the water, heated to 80 degrees, welcomed 15 dedicants. I wish I could tell you the stories that I know, but I will reserve that for when we all sit in the Kingdom, and time is no longer a taskmaster. Suffice it to say, in the pictures before you, there are wonderful stories of the redeeming hand of Christ, who has changed hearts and lives and moved them toward Himself.

Getting in the water and beginning the process got me thinking about Christ's baptism. I could not help but think that there were certain elements of Christ's baptism that would be typical for our baptism.

Before I get to what I mean, I want to share what a believer's baptism is. It is the intentional declaration of the believer to the watching world that he or she is identified in the work of Christ in His death, burial and resurrection. In baptism, I am saying that I am in Christ, and the symbol of that is my immersion into the water (death), submersion under the water (burial) and then the coming out of the water (resurrection). I am publically declaring what has been privately held, that I am Christ's, dead to my old ways and manners, and alive, in the power of God's Spirit, to become a slave to God for righteousness. (Read Romans 6:1-4 for the complete picture)

So, with that as my context, I began to think about what happened to Jesus after He was baptized. The first thing that happened came from heaven.

"When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'"
Matthew 3:16,17

There was an attestation from heaven to the person of Christ, to His authenticity. A stamp of God the Father's approval on God the Son, with God the Spirit descending upon Him, all three persons of the Trinity, seen in this one verse. I want to say that I believe that as we proclaim the Lordship of Christ over our lives at Baptism, that the Lord proclaims His stamp of approval upon that believer, who has shown by baptism, that a work of salvation has taken place in His heart. I believe that the Lord is proud to say that this person is His beloved, in whom He is well pleased.

Why do I say that? Simply because I am in Christ. God the Father is pleased with Christ, and I am in Him! God the Father sees me through the lens of Christ, the Son.

The second thing that happened came from hell.

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil."
Matthew 4:1

The Gospel of Mark says that he went immediately out into the wilderness. I almost imagine Jesus going alone, still dripping, away from the crowds, in the privacy of the desert, to be tempted by the devil. It's interesting to me that Mark again uses an interesting word in his description of this same event. Mark says that the Spirit "drove" Jesus into the wilderness. This is a divinely ordained event. Why? Jesus will defeat the enemy, who uses the same temptations that he did against Adam and Eve, when He is the weakest physically, in a desolate place. He will defeat the enemy and win where Adam and Eve failed.

What will happen to a believer who goes through a spiritual event, like baptism? I believe that he or she can expect the enemy to fight hard against them. I have certainly seen people come out of the water or any spiritual event, only to come away and find that there is a different level of spiritual warfare in their life.

Finally, the third thing I see happened on the Earth.

"From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.'"
Matthew 4:17

Jesus began, after His baptism, engaged in His public ministry. Prior to this, Jesus has privately grown in wisdom and stature among men. However, now it is time for Him to be publicly known. Something has made it appropriate to enter into public ministry now. It seems that Christ's baptism is His launch into ministry. And what better time is there? For a believer who has gotten up the courage to stand before his peers and family, and say, "I am living by a different code and agenda in life," this is the perfect time to be emboldened to follow the Lord in the things of ministry.

These are just thoughts that I have been having since last weekend. I would hope that for those who have not been baptized, that these thoughts might stimulate a "what if?" in your life. For those who have been baptized, I hope that this will bring comfort and encouragement, realizing that there might be some warfare occurring in your life. Either way, I hope that we continue to see more people baptized at Kingsfield, as we continue to devote ourselves to the Lord.

Blessings...To Our Friends,
Frank Sanchez


Carrie Marie said...

yay, Sunday post!!! :)

This was a very good exegetical commentary on Jesus' baptism...I liked it a lot, you should get is published.

Carrie Marie said...

it published...not "is"...geez. :)

Frank & Lela said...

Thanks Carrie! I appreciate that coming from a Biolan!