This past Sunday I had the privilege of baptizing three people in the fresh waters of Burt Lake. As a “Baptist” church, of course we have a nice, heated baptistry in our auditorium. But one of the guys being baptized said he’d prefer being baptized outside in a Northern Michigan lake. The others agreed to it, so we planned a picnic and baptism at Burt Lake State Park. While it was only about 70 degrees, the water wasn’t too cold, and our hearts were warmed by these three believers publicly expressing their faith in Christ.
The word for baptism originally meant to “immerse, submerge, dunk,” so that’s how we still administer baptism: all three were dunked in Burt Lake and raised back up. When you think about it, baptism pictures two amazing realities. First, it pictures how Jesus died, was buried, and rose again to save us from all our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). That’s the gospel, and baptism demonstrates what Jesus did for us.
Second, baptism illustrates what happens to a person when they place their trust in Jesus as their Savior. In essence, the old you dies, and your new, cleansed life begins. As the three people Sunday closed their eyes to go under the water then opened them to the blue sky when they came up, the Bible says we are called out of darkness into “marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
Why do we this—dipping people in the water for a moment after they’ve confessed their faith in Christ? Simply put, we baptize because Jesus said, “make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Being baptized is a biblical way for disciples to show they are following the Lord.
Comments or questions? Email Pastor Jeff at: firstname.lastname@example.org