Baptisms have always been a highlight and the other week I preached at a church where three adults from China were baptized! The testimonies captivated the service and it literally seemed that time stood still as each one shared the miraculous interventions of God’s grace in their lives. It was as if the water that covered these new believers in baptism flowed out into the congregation with waves of heaven’s joy as the Father’s presence flooded the room.
When you look at the life of Jesus and the critical event that launched Him into ministry you have to follow Him to the Jordan River where His baptism took place. There in the wilderness John the Baptist baptized Jesus. John preached repentance. John called people to jump into the flowing river as a symbol of their sins being washed down stream.
John was humbled that Jesus wanted to be baptized by him and in a way this story is one of “show and tell.” You recall that elementary school activity where students took turns bringing in something that was of value and shared why for fellow classmates. After Jesus’ baptism the heavens opened up and the voice of the Father could be heard from above. Jesus was “showing the Father” to His followers. Jesus was sinless and was not in need of baptism, yet Jesus insisted on going under the Jordan River as all the others stood in line. He did this to show others the way. Through this act of baptism He “showed us” how we are to turn from sin. Sin keeps us from a love relationship with the Father. Sin holds us in bondage. Yet, through the act of baptism Jesus “was telling us” that He would take the sin of the world on His shoulders and He would do so at the cross. There are sins were and buried forever in the grave. And because of His resurrection we would hear the voice of our Abba Father!
As I witnessed the three baptism that Sunday I was reminded how I daily need to follow Jesus to the river, plunge under Calvary’s stream, and die to self in order to open my heart and my mind to the voice of my Father. Jesus demonstrated this to us in word and deed. This is clearly stated in Luke 9:23-25
If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and yet lose or forfeit his very self.
This morning before I wrote this blog I went down to the river and jumped in again. I confessed my sin and my need for a Savior. Daily I need to have my sins washed away and die to my self-willed life, so that I can hear my Father’s voice; a voice that brings true life. If you haven’t done so yet today, I encourage you to walk down to the river and jump in and let Jesus bring you up and out so that you can hear from your Abba Father.