Crossroads: Why We Baptize

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Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Your Story

Tell your children your story of accepting Jesus and being baptized. How did you feel when you came out of the water (or if you were sprinkled, how did you feel after that experience)?

My Story and the Bible Story

I have loved Jesus for practically my whole life. I grew up in church, and we were there pretty much every time the church was open. At seven years old, I told Jesus that I wanted him to be my Savior and I was baptized. And at sixteen, I was baptized again because I didn’t really remember the first one. I was worried that it must not have been important to me since I couldn’t remember it, and I wanted to make sure that Jesus was, in fact, my Savior. Looking back, I’d like to tell my sixteen-year-old self that I didn’t need to be baptized again, that Jesus was already my Savior and that baptism is a small, though important, part of the Christian journey.

But why do we baptize? For Baptists, why do we get into a pool of water and go completely under, only to be pulled back up? We find the answer to that in Luke 3:15-17, 21-22. From The Message: “The interest of the people by now was building. They were all beginning to wonder, ‘Could this John be the Messiah?’ But John intervened: ‘I’m baptizing you here in the river. The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house—make a clean sweep of your lives. He’ll place everything true in its proper place before God; everything false he’ll put out with the trash to be burned…After all the people were baptized, Jesus was baptized. As he was praying, the sky opened up and the Holy Spirit, like a dove descending, came down on him. And along with the Spirit, a voice, ‘You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.’”

Baptism is a symbol: water makes us clean, and the waters of baptism remind us that Jesus makes us clean. He clears away the sin from our lives. We are baptized because Jesus was baptized. Baptism reminds us that we cannot fix ourselves. And even though someone else baptizes us, that person cannot fix us either. Only God can take away the things we do wrong. And only God can make us more like Jesus. But in order for us to be more like Jesus, we have to do what God wants us to do, even when we want to do something different. We have to ignore ourselves and what we want (which is sometimes called dying to self) and do what God wants us to do instead. Being a Christian is a lifelong journey. For all of us, it begins with accepting Jesus, which is usually followed by baptism. Baptism reminds us that Jesus has made us clean. What a wonderful thing to remember!

Discussion

• If your children have been baptized, have them share their story/stories of accepting Jesus as their Savior and being baptized. How did it feel to be baptized?
• If they haven’t yet accepted Jesus, talk about what it means to accept God and follow Him.

Prayer

Thank God for sending Jesus to make us clean from our sins. Thank God for the sacrifice Jesus made so that we could always be friends with Him.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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