Jesus answered him, “Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him to be baptized.
My daddy is a preacher. That means I was your typical PK growing up. I had 47 sets of parents and/or grandparents (all who had permission to discipline me when needed) and 94 eyes watching my every move at all times.
That also means I got all the perks of being a PK. You know, getting into the communion grape juice when I shouldn’t have, running full-speed and yelling through the halls of the church after hours, and—my personal favorite—helping my dad fill the baptistery on Saturday evenings.
I was a pro at baptizing because I’d seen my dad do it so much. I mean, I dunked my little brother in the public swimming pool every summer no less than 723 times each year—all in the name of “the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” of course.
As an adult, some of my dad’s best ministry stories include that which happened during baptisms. Like the time he put a woman under the water and when she came back up, her wig was floating on the surface. Or the time when he immersed a very large woman—and, even with the help of a deacon, it took 15 minutes to get her back up.
My favorite story was when he went to fill the baptistery one Saturday night and realized someone must have just done the deed—but the plug in the bottom had come out. To stop it from draining, he shucked every stitch of clothing, climbed into a pair of fishing waders, and dove in to stop it.
Just as he was coming up out of the water, he heard something move in the darkened sanctuary. He stepped out and ran smack dab into one of the little old ladies who’d come to get her Sunday School lesson for the next morning.
I’ll never forget what my dad said about that day: “There I was, with nothing between me and glory but those waders.”
I still get tickled thinking about those stories, but one thing I always noticed about baptisms was that my dad made sure they happened at the beginning of each service. It was a focal point in worship, a celebration, a chance to witness someone literally following in the footsteps of Jesus.
Back in the day, John was reluctant to baptize Jesus because of His sinless nature. But Jesus had to complete this step in order for “all righteousness” to be complete, so He could identify with the people He came to save (see 2 Corinthians 5:21).
As a result, throughout the gospels, we see that God publicly declared Jesus’ Sonship and His delight in Him because of His obedience in baptism. And that’s why He’s the example we’re to follow.
When you dig deep into baptism you come out with the Greek word baptizo, which literally means “to make clean with water; to immerse; to overwhelm; to identify with.”
No—water doesn't save. Jesus does. But being baptized symbolizes what’s happened in your heart through salvation, and it brings about your righteousness through Him.
I like how Pastor Mike says it best: “If you want to be like Jesus, you walk like He walks, talk like He talks, think like He thinks, do what He does.” Plain and simple, right?
- Have you followed Christ’s example of baptism? If not, what are you waiting for?
- Why do you think baptism is such a weighty step in your walk with Christ?
- Pastor Mike says there are always three things God is telling you to do. If you haven’t gone through baptism, consider that the act might be one of the three.