And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Acts 16:33
A wedding is a marker in life. Before, these two people were part of two different families; now they are one new family. A wedding ceremony isn’t the only thing that creates a marriage, of course, but it does mark the beginning of a new chapter of life and it has a real spiritual and legal effect on the couple’s relationship. And it’s done in public, so that everyone else knows what has happened.
Baptism is a similar kind of ceremony for new Christians. The baptism that Jesus commands not only demonstrates repentance, it is also evidence of forgiveness, a step of obedience to God, and a public identification with God’s people. It might be the first application of Jesus’ words in John 14: 14: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”
We know from the baptisms described in the New Testament, that when people repented, they were baptized right away, wherever they were. On the day of Pentecost, 3000 people believed and were baptized right away (Acts 2:41). When the apostle Philip preached, new believers were baptized at once, even by the side of a road (Acts 8:36-38). Paul baptized people at night, in their homes, wherever they were when they first believed. It marked them as part of God’s family. Today, many churches require people to be baptized before they can become church members.
If you are a Christian and have not been baptized, please talk to a pastor right away! Every Christian is qualified to be baptized, and it’s important way to show your love for Jesus.
Questions for discussion and reflection
- Have you been baptized?
- If not, what is keeping you from obeying God in this way?
- Have you been baptized at North Valley? If not explore more online and take your next step. Next week the church will be having baptisms in both services. http://www.northvalleychurch.org/baptism
Dear God, help me obey your commands in every way, including by being baptized. I want everyone to know that I am one of your people and that I have repented from my sins. In Jesus’ name, amen.