Category Archives: Baptism

Why Was Jesus Baptized?

Baptizing the spotless lamb of God and savior of the world seems like an odd sort of way to begin Jesus’ ministry. He didn’t need to be made righteous. He didn’t have any sins to repent of, which was part of John’s baptism. Jesus didn’t need to be baptized in the since that you and I need to be baptized. Jesus was baptized as Israel’s representative. He was the seed of Abraham who would fulfill the covenant promises that God said Abraham’s descendants would fulfill in this world.

A recap may be necessary on that just as a reminder,

Gen 12:1-3
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.’”

Genesis 22:15-18

The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”

God promised Abraham that it was through his descendants (the Hebrews or people of Israel) would bless the world. The problem with this was, Abraham’s descendants had failed to live into and up to this mission but God wasn’t done with them. Instead, God used a descendant of Abraham to fulfill these covenant promises made back in Genesis through Jesus Christ. That makes Jesus Christ the true Israelite. He fully recognizes with humanity by becoming human, in the flesh. He fully recognizes with the covenant promises by being born into Abraham’s family tree. In his birth he is fully identified with Israel religiously as his parents dedicate him, circumcise him and provide the offerings required of them by the Torah.

Why is Jesus baptized? It is not for repentance. It is not for salvation. It is not to have his sins washed away. Just as the Hebrews went through the waters and then through the wilderness, to Sinai and then to the promised land, Jesus lives out that same journey in his ministry:

Through the Red Sea – Jesus baptism (Matthew 3)

Through the wilderness – Jesus temptation (Matthew 4)

To Sinai – Sermon on the Mount which reflects the 10 commandments and re-envisions them (Matthew 5-7)

Through the wilderness to the Jordan – Jesus’ ministry where he demonstrates his authority over the evil forces of this world. He teaches with authority, does miracles with authority, etc. Jesus is also the rock in the wilderness that the living water flowed out, the living water itself and the mana as the bread of life (Matthew 8-26)

On to the promised land – Jesus’ passion through the resurrection (Matthew 27-28)

Jesus’ baptism is the introduction to the story of the making of a nation. Only this time it is not an ethnic nation. It is a nation that is comprised of all nations and peoples who have a common faith of the pre-circumcised Abraham (Rom 5:9-10).

Praise God for his faithfulness, his provision and his grace.

Best Thoughts I Have Ever Read on Bible Geneaologies by Walter Brueggemann

In talking about the biblical exile and how the Western church finds itself in its own sort of exile Brueggemann writes, “The enormous popularity of Alex Haley’s Roots came about, I suggest, not because of fascination with our guilt about slavery, but because of resonance with the need to recover connection and genealogy…The scriptural resources forContinue Reading

The Holy Spirit’s Role in the Coming of Jesus

We often associate the Holy Spirit with the beginning of the church in Luke’s second volume, the book of Acts. What is interesting is that the Holy Spirit also played a key role in kicking off Luke’s first volume, the Gospel of Luke: Luke 1:15 – John the Baptist will be filled with the HolyContinue Reading

Living Inside Out: Guest Post by Adelle Gabrielson

“If thou indeed derive thy light from heaven, then to the measure of that heaven-born light, shine…in thy place and be content.” ~William Wordsworth Every Sunday morning, my family would go out to breakfast before church. I remember one of those Sundays in particular when my father suddenly looked up at me across the tableContinue Reading

Focus on Discipleship Has Created a Resurgence in Baptism

It used to be pretty unusual to hear people teach the importance of baptism. In Churches of Christ it wasn’t unusual. We talked about it all the time but outside our fellowship it was pretty infrequent. If you did hear it, it was one of those things done to infants or done to join aContinue Reading

Frank Viola’s Post on Water Baptism

Frank Viola posted a good piece on water baptism today. It is worth a read. Rethinking Christian Baptism

Seeking Simplicty

When we lived in Memphis we used to knock doors on Saturday mornings for the bus ministry at an apartment complex in Millington called Flag Manor. One door we knocked on a regular basis was the apartment of an older couple who had an adult son who was mentally challenged. His name was Ricky. RickyContinue Reading

The Sinner’s Prayer is Making the Rounds

I am seeing more and more blogs discussing the sinner’s prayer these days. There is this saying in the Churches of Christ that says we are usually about 20 years behind what other churches are doing. In this instance it seems they are 200 years behind us! I kid when I say that because itContinue Reading

John The Baptist’s Baptism Was for the Forgiveness of Sins

You have undoubtedly heard that John the Baptist’s baptism was a baptism of repentance and that the difference between John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism was that Jesus’ baptism took it a step further by adding the effect of the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Well, was anyone even reading Mark 1:4? “And so John theContinue Reading

Studying With the Newly Baptized – Needing Your Input

We had marked the finish line in the wrong place. When someone was baptized we talked about that moment like their spiritual journey was complete. They had crossed a line but not the line. The reality was the finish line was still in the future. The ugly result of that was the newly baptized wereContinue Reading


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