This is the fifth article of an eight-part series on the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20.
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
We have covered the early portions of this command, and we have come to the point of baptism. Baptism can be a risky topic to write about, because churches do not all agree on its practice. Yet, here it is within the Great Commission. Jesus commands us to make disciples, and He specifically tells us to baptize them. If baptism is important to Jesus, then we had best consider it.
Baptism is the practice of immersing a new believer under water in a public proclamation of identity and allegiance to Jesus Christ. We bring the new believer under the water to symbolize death of the old man, and we bring the person out of the water to symbolize his or her new life in Christ. The symbolism is wonderful, and the one being baptized gives public testimony that Jesus Christ is Lord.
I had the honor of baptizing four people last weekend. Each one entered the water, stood before the church, and proclaimed Jesus is Lord. They told their individual stories of how they came to submit their lives to Jesus, and they declared their desire to obey Jesus for the rest of their lives. In a sense, they set themselves apart for Jesus. They effectively said to the world, “I now belong to Jesus Christ! Count me in!”
Baptism does not save anyone, but neither is it optional for those who follow Jesus Christ. It is a command of God, and we are to obey Him. There are too many people who like to play the game. They play church on Sunday mornings and try to fit in with the church crowd. Then they leave the church and try to fit in with the world. Jesus calls us to be separated unto Him. We are to be different from the world, and one critical step is to obey the command of baptism.
Romans 6:3-4 – Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.