Understanding Why Jesus Commands We Are Baptized

Leave a comment / / Updated on: 28th December 2023

why jesus commands we are baptized
Why Jesus commands we are baptized / editorial use only via iStock

The vital role and sacred significance of baptism in Christianity resonates throughout the scriptures and teachings of Jesus Christ Himself, instilling a profound sense of commitment, transformation, and rebirth in the heart of every Christian believer.

As the symbolic representation of spiritual death and resurrection – the act of baptism weaves a powerfully transformative narrative into the tapestry of Christian faith and strongly aligns with the teachings of Jesus Christ on repentance and faith.

This exploration delves into the theological underpinnings, gospel accounts, and the pervasive concept of faith that structure the spiritual mandate of baptism, casting light on the unerring words of Jesus Christ that illuminate the path for Christians worldwide.

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The Significance of Baptism in Christianity

why jesus commands we are baptized
A single, clear water drop symbolizes the essence of baptism / rvlsoft via iStock

In the realm of Christianity, the sacrament of baptism stands as an integral representation of faith and commitment to the Lord.

Many ask why baptism holds such a significant place in the Christian faith.

The answer lies within the deep spiritual significance, its scriptural basis, and the image of rebirth it projects.

Perceived as a fundamental sacrament, baptism vibrantly signifies an individual’s entrance into the community of faith.

It serves as an outward demonstration of an inward transformation, indicating a believer’s acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Savior and committing to walking in his footsteps.

The essence of baptism carries in itself an extraordinary message of hope, salvation, and new life.

It is about ‘putting on Christ,’ turning away from the past, and embarking on a new journey with Christ.

This notion of symbolic death and resurrection mirrors the life, death, and eternal life of Jesus Christ in the believer’s hearts (Romans 6:3-4).

Rooted in Scriptural Foundation

why jesus commands we are baptized
Baptism’s pivotal role, as practiced by apostles and initial believers

Baptism finds its roots in the teachings of Jesus Christ himself, solidifying its importance.

According to the Gospel of Matthew 28:19, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

This direct command from Jesus remains evidence of the undeniable significance of baptism.

It’s an act of obedience to the Savior — an affiance to His guidance that enables believers to experience His divine love within their lives.

Further, the narrative of the early church in the book of Acts reaffirms the importance of baptism, as the very first converts of the apostles were promptly baptized.

This prompt baptism clarifies the essence of baptism as a critical milestone in the journey of faith, equipping believers with the Holy Spirit’s gifts, the divine helper promised by Jesus Himself (Acts 2:38).

The transformative power of baptism is often likened to a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly.

Before baptism, the believer is in their ‘caterpillar’ stage, living life as per worldly norms.

But, as they sink beneath the baptismal water, they leave behind their old sinful self.

Rising from the water is the emergence of a ‘butterfly,’ a renewed, sanctified believer poised to soar high in the Christian life, imbued with the Holy Spirit and armed with a renewed set of spiritual values.

Beyond Tradition: A Crucial Milestone

why jesus commands we are baptized
Submerged hands, a symbol of baptismal immersion / temmuzcan via iStock

To place this sacrament in the periphery of Christian practice would not only obscure its profound impact but also dilute the very essence of the Christian faith.

In the grand plan of discipleship and following Jesus, baptism indeed signifies a milestone.

It demarcates the conversion of faith from a private confession to a public declaration, folding the believer into a broader fabric of the Christian community.

In the richness of its symbolisms and the transformative effect on a believer’s life, the ritual of baptism indeed has its force.

It rests not in the water, but in the mighty One who promised to cleanse, regenerate, and sanctify every heart submitting to the humbling act of baptism.

Baptism doesn’t just symbolize the washing away of sins; it signifies a life born anew in the image and teachings of Jesus Christ.

And this is why baptism is not merely a tradition or ritual, but a crucial part of the Christian faith.

Jesus and the Call to Baptism

why jesus commands we are baptized
An image depicting a child being immersed in water during a baptism ceremony.

In the teachings of Jesus Christ, there is an undeniable commandment regarding baptism, directly handed to His faithful disciples.

This critical directive resonates in the Book of Matthew 28:19-20, where Jesus emphatically voiced, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

This command, often referred to as The Great Commission, links the act of discipleship intrinsically with baptism.

Jesus’ direction highlights several significant points.

First, it reveals the purpose of baptism.

Just as a ship is christened with a new name before it commences its journey, followers of Christ are given a new identity through baptism.

This act signifies initiating a covenantal relationship with the triune God – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Trinitarian Formula: Reflecting Divine Reality

why jesus commands we are baptized
A descending dove symbolizes divine presence with Jesus at baptism / CSA Images via iStock

Moreover, Jesus’ commandment reveals the procedure of baptism – one should administer it “in the name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

This Trinitarian formula holds paramount importance.

It reflects the divine reality of our God who exists in three Persons, yet is One.

Moving on from Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus also provides a practical demonstration for baptism in Mark 1:9-10.

As He was baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus showed that baptism should be an act of immersion in water.

This action and its connection to commitment and servitude was glaringly illustrated on the banks of the Jordan River.

Our Savior’s humility in submitting Himself to this baptismal process illuminates the gravity of this commandment and sanctifies baptism as a requisite spiritual event, adding a new dimension to its significance.

Then, in the Gospel of John 3:5, Jesus amplifies the importance of baptism further by stating, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

Here, Jesus introduces an essential component – the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Baptism, as per His teaching, now includes water and the Spirit, signifying both a cleansing from sin and the empowering for righteous living.

Baptism as Divine Commandment

why jesus commands we are baptized
The Commandments at Moses’ hands / ratpack223 via iStock

In light of these profound words, one might retrospect on the value of baptism in one’s faith journey.

It was never meant to be merely symbolic or a ritual to follow blindly, but rather, a divine commandment.

It establishes a line of demarcation between the old life of sin and the new life in Christ – its intersection.

Moreover, it starts the Believer on a journey of sanctification and empowerment by the Holy Spirit to be a witness for God, thereby fulfilling The Great Commission.

Closing this exploration on baptism, it is vital to understand that the sacrament should not be reduced to a procedure, but embraced as a transformation.

An inauguration into a spiritual kinship, a declaration of one’s faith, and an intimate encounter with the triune God.

Comprehend this act not just as another ordainment, but as being immersed into a grand narrative where one evolves from a child of sin to a child of God.

Baptism: An Emblem of Death and Resurrection

Image of a baptismal font with water, symbolizing the importance of baptism for followers of Jesus
The baptismal font with water symbolizes the importance of baptism for followers of Jesus.

Delving deeper into the profound symbolism of baptism, we turn our attention to its depiction of death and resurrection in Christ.

This key element is best found in Paul’s epistle to the Romans, where we uncover a profound parallel between our immersion in baptismal water and the sacrificial death of Christ.

Romans 6:3-4 asserts, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”

In the baptism ritual, the descent into the water symbolizes death – the death of Christ, but also our death to sin.

It’s a visual and visceral representation of dying to our former selves, our sinful nature.

This act of immersion serves as a symbol of our commitment to renounce sin and worldly temptations.

Yet, as we emerge from the water, we mimic Christ’s resurrection, signifying the birth of a new creation in Christ.

The Scriptures teach that Jesus, through the power of God, was raised from the dead to destroy the power of sin and death (1 Corinthians 15: 3-4).

Emerging from the waters of baptism, we too are symbolically raised from death to life, cleansed from our sins as we partake in Christ’s resurrection.

We’re reborn into a spiritual life that seeks to emulate the teachings and servanthood of Jesus Christ, walking onwards in His truth and light.

Collective Faith Journey: Unity and Death and Resurrection

A united congregation fulfills The Great Commission with purpose
The Christian community / FrankyDeMeyer via iStock

Baptism, however, captures more than just our journey away from sin towards salvation.

The ritual also embodies the collective faith journey of the Christian community.

As we stand with our brothers and sisters, our shared immersion and emergence from the waters signify our unity in Christ’s death and resurrection.

Baptism is performed in the Trinitarian formula – “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-20).

Through this, we proclaim our covenant relationship with the all-encompassing God whose love and grace are universally extended to all.

This affirmation magnifies the value of baptism, setting the foundation for a more profound faith journey.

It sets each believer on a path of sanctification and empowerment by the Holy Spirit, edifying the Church in fulfilling The Great Commission.

Transformative Experience: Embracing Spiritual Kinship

Indeed, baptism embodies a transformative experience that embraces a spiritual kinship with God.

Baptism, as exemplified by Jesus Himself, signifies the conception of a divinely ordained life in the kingdom of God.

It involves renouncing the old self, being born of water and the Spirit, and embracing a commitment to a life of faith, discipleship, and service unto God and His kingdom.

Undeniably, a baptismal journey profoundly reflects, symbolizes, and anticipates the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

It is a journey marked by grace, faith, repentance, and steadfast love that cascades into an eternal call to follow Jesus, leading a Christ-centered life driven by the Holy Spirit.

The Role of Faith and Repentance in Baptism

An open Bible sits on a pulpit, ready for a sermon
An open Bible sits on a pulpit, ready for a sermon

Diving deeper into the intertwining of faith and repentance with the act of baptism, it’s imperative to understand the profound connection that exists.

Baptism is more than a ceremony; it’s an outward testament of inward transformation, faith, and repentance.

This coming together is evident in the Apostle Paul’s words found in Acts 20:21, which mention a call to, “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Faith and repentance act as the receptacle preparing us for baptism.

Faith believes in Jesus’ redeeming work, while repentance acknowledges and turns away from past sins.

Both are deeply rooted in the heart, invisible to the naked eye but made visible through baptism.

While baptism does not save us—only faith in Christ does (Ephesians 2:8-9)—baptism provides a way for followers to express that faith visibly, similar to how a wedding ring represents marriage.

Faith and Repentance: Preparation for Baptism

A crucifix bathed in light: Symbolizing life after death
A crucifix bathed in light: Symbolizing life after death / rudall30 via iStock

Faith and repentance fuel our commitment to a covenant relationship with God, which is further fortified in baptism.

Full water immersion symbolizes dying to our old selves, sin, and rising into a new life anchored in Christ.

This mirrors Christ’s journey from death to resurrection, signifying our participation in His sacrificial act for humanity.

Through baptism, the believer is making a bold statement, speaking their commitment, repentance, and faith into existence, stepping forward from the shadow of their pasts into the light of Christ’s love.

This declaration assures the Christian community that they have confessed their sins to God, repented, asked for forgiveness, and committed themselves to a life dedicated to following Jesus.

In baptism, not only do we symbolically share in Christ’s death and resurrection, but we also affirm our Trinitarian belief in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The Trinitarian formula, passed down through the ages from Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 28, allows us to be bound to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, initiating us into the covenant community of the Father’s kingdom.

Post-Baptism Empowerment: The Role of the Holy Spirit

A heartfelt scene unites believers as children of God
An empowered group of God’s children / FG Trade via iStock

The Holy Spirit, our constant post-baptism ally, empowers us for The Great Commission: spreading God’s Word and making disciples worldwide.

Baptism is not the end, but the beginning of our covenant relationship and fulfilling our calling.

Baptism both seals and celebrates the transformative power of God’s grace and love in our lives.

It’s a transformation so profound that we become kin, children of God, united with Him and with our fellow believers.

It marks the start of our collective journey – a shared path filled with faith, repentance, discipleship, and service.

Faith and repentance are not just prerequisites for baptism but are deeply intertwined throughout the act.

They’re the foundation for a faith-fueled journey, departing from sin and committing to a Christ-centered life led by the Holy Spirit.

Baptism is a powerful response to God’s grace, faith, repentance, and love, linking us to a life centered on Christ.

By penetrating the theological depths and dissecting the scriptural accounts surrounding baptism, we immerse ourselves in the understanding that baptism predates the dawn of a renewed existence in the faithful Christian’s journey.

It’s more than a ritual; it’s a fervent proclamation of faith, repentance, and submission to Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.

Bathed in the divine light of Christ’s teachings, even the seemingly simple act of baptism unravels the profound nuances of Christian life, resonating with the eternal call to live as followers of Jesus Christ.

This exploration serves not merely as an academic pursuit, but as a spiritual wandering into the heart of Jesus’s mandates, igniting a deeper comprehension of the essence of Christian faith and life.

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