Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Pastor John’s Notes:
Baptism signifies the beginning of our new life as disciples of Jesus Christ. It is our public response to the working of the Holy Spirit within us, signifying our new birth. Jesus once said, “Truly I tell you, unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The water he referred to is the water of our natural birth. As we grew within the womb, we were encased in water. When the time came for our delivery, the water broke. But then Jesus spoke of a second birth that comes from the Holy Spirit, who awakens us to God. This second, spiritual birth is the beginning of our new life as a disciple of Jesus. So it is that baptism and discipleship are interconnected.
Some people mistakenly think of baptism as an ending of a process of learning, when in fact, it is only the beginning. Certainly, we must know the basics of the Christian faith to be baptized as adults, yet once baptized, we begin the lifelong process of growing in our spiritual knowledge of God. There is much to learn, but the Spirit is a teacher who knows our capacity for learning. If we are attentive to the Spirit, we will learn everything we need to know.
Heavenly Father, thank you for the sign of baptism that signifies the beginning of a new journey with you. Help me to listen to your Spirit and be responsive to everything you are ready to teach me. Let me grow in my faith each day as you lead me forward.