Ever look around you and question why we do the things we do? Like why do we eat corned beef and cabbage on St Patrick’s Day or what does a bunny and eggs have to do with Easter? I have that thought all the time about the way we do church and live out our faith in Christ. Sometimes those questions have led me to dismiss things that don’t actually have any real meaning behind them. Lots of times, it has helped me discover deeper truth and my life is richer because of it.
If you’re new to church or Christianity, baptism might be one of those things you question. What does being dunked in water have to do with following Jesus?
Being water baptized is an important step because it signifies the start of a journey made possible by Christ alone.
When the Israelites were living in captivity, God sent Moses to lead them out of that life and into a place that He prepared for them. From what I see in scripture, it sounds like the idea of it was as overwhelming as it was exciting.
On one hand, they didn’t want to stay living as slaves. Fathers and mothers were dreaming of raising children without the fear of tyranny. They were ready for a future that held potential instead of pain. Stepping into the unknown was also overwhelming. What were they signing up for? What new obstacles would they face up ahead?
There was this moment where the people had started following Moses toward the place God wanted to take them but a massive river stood in their way. What made the situation even more difficult is that the Egyptian nation was now hunting them down to drag them back to the life they just left behind. There didn’t seem to be a way forward until God split the sea in half.
Then Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the Lord opened up a path through the water with a strong east wind. The wind blew all that night, turning the seabed into dry land. So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! Exodus 14:21-22
Can you imagine standing on the side of the river as you gaze forward into a tunnel of water piled high on either side? Maybe it felt similar to stepping out of an airplane in midair and trusting that the parachute on your back is going to keep you from plummeting to the earth. All I know is it took some faith to step onto that dry ground and walk a path forged by the hand of God.
In story writing, they would call that moment the inciting incident. It’s the decision that’s going to change everything. That’s the point when the story really begins and everything that happens afterward is a result of that one choice.
Once the Israelites stepped onto that dry sea bed, they stepped into a journey that would impact every part of their lives and relationships. As they crossed the sea, a line was drawn between them and the life of slavery. That line was solidified when the waters came crashing down on the armies in pursuit of them and erased the threat of being forced back into the life they once knew. If they were going to turn back, it would now be their own choice and not someone else’s.
The waters of baptism signified a leaving of the old life and emerging from the water to enter into a new one.
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. Colossians 2:12
It is more than symbolic, choosing to be water baptized is following Jesus onto a path that is only made possible because of His sacrificial death on our behalf. He became sin for us, paid the penalty that was due, and defeated the power of death. His life forged a path through a sea we could not cross and made the way for a new life in Him.
If you would like to be water baptized, we invite you to join us this Sunday night for our Encounter Night. It will be at 6 pm at our upcoming new location on Sprague (10920 E Sprague Ave). There will be a class at 5 pm that will further help you explore the significance of this important step in your faith. You can sign up for the class by following this link.
We are excited to celebrate with all of you taking this step of faith on Sunday!