Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?” Acts 8:35-36
If you think about it, baptism can look like a rather odd practice. I mean, what’s up with pouring water on a baby’s forehead? Or, even more dramatically, dunking a person in water and thinking that it has some sort of meaning?
Knowing what your baptism means will help you enjoy it and, honestly, prepare for it.
In the story above, the eunuch from Ethiopia (a man assigned to protect the Queen) heard about Jesus from the deacon Philip. As soon as he saw a pool of water he asked Philip to baptize him.
What was he seeking? What did he think he’d accomplish? And at your baptism, what will you accomplish? Let me list two things:
Identification. Baptism is the international and timeless means of identifying with Jesus and thus with his followers. Since our leader Jesus was baptized, we are baptized as a means of aligning ourselves with his person and his cause.
I like to portray baptism in two ways: One, it’s like putting on your favorite team’s jersey. Baptism tells the world whose team you are on. Two, it’s like a wedding ring. It says you’re off the market. Your spirit belongs to Jesus.
When you get baptized, you’re choosing to publicly identify yourself with Jesus.
Symbolism. There’s no magical power to baptism. The water cannot wash away your sin. No physical act or thing can. But the act of immersion (the word baptize means to immerse in water) paints several beautiful pictures for us.
First, it symbolizes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. The submersion and subsequent rising up from the water retells the story of Jesus’ suffering, death, burial and resurrection every time someone is baptized.
Second, it symbolizes Jesus’ blood washing us clean from all our sins.
Third, it symbolizes our being born again. (Remember Nicodemus in John 3? Jesus told him he needed to be born a second time.) Baptism represents our new birth. It represents the death and burial of our old, sinful selves and our resurrection to new life in Christ.
Yep, I know that’s a lot to think about. The point is that baptism is a really big deal.
And remember what I told you yesterday: Baptism is an act of obedience and God honors obedience.
Ponder these meanings today and maybe even pray about them.