02 February 2013

For Jewish people or not?

Up out of the water by bobmendo
Up out of the water, a photo by bobmendo on Flickr.

Baptism is not to be a confusing thing. It is a ceremony like we did on Thursday in Balmoral Beach here in Sydney. It is an initiation rite of the believing community which has four reasons to be done. I will show you those in a moment.

But is it for Jewish people? Of course! Back in Bible days it was the last rite for a Gentile in their conversion to being a Jew. So it had to be Jewish. In modern days people go to the mikveh like i used to on Friday afternoon to welcome Queen Sabbath. Women go to cleanse themselves monthly after their period. Before a marriage, the couple will go to the mikveh for cleansing. So the use of the ceremonial cleansing pool for washing is very Jewish.

What makes this unique is that it is a one-off, not-to-be-repeated event. And there are four reasons to do it.

1) Y'shua did it. We read in Matthew chapter 3 verse 16 (Henceforth 3.16) After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him"

2) Y'shua taught that we should do it. And the disciples agreed. We read in Acts 2.38 "Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Also Y'shua said in Mark 16.16 “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."

3) It is an outward sign of an inward faith. In the same way that my wedding ring does not make me married, but rather reminds me and others that I am, baptism doesn't save us, but does remind us that we are. It is outward and part of the 'welcome' by the community of faith. That's what is happening in the photo here with our young Jewess in Sydney who is making a public proclamation of her faith which already was real. And the community is welcoming her and accepting her as 'one of us.'

4) The apostle Paul said in Romans 6.4 "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life." Wow, it's a cemetery and a resurrection moment. We re-enact that by placing the candidate in the waters horizontally and then lifting him/ her up. We had just finished that in this case.

When the deacon and evangelist Philip had preached Y'shua as Messiah to the town of Shomron (Samaria) in Acts 8 and particularly to a eunuch from Ethiopia. Acts 8.36 "As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch *said, “Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?”

So what about you? What prevents you from being baptised?

1 comment:

Jeff Rivera said...

Baptism, according to me, is not about cleaning our body but it has a greater spiritual meaning, it cleanse our soul and brings it closer to the god. I think baptism should not be considered a largely Christian practice, it existed before Christ.

So whenever the little one in our family gets baptized, it is important we understand the spiritual significance of it because God sitting in the heavens is smiling at the sight.

So we should never consider it as a ritual or a mere custom which has existed since thousands of years but it is a great spiritual exercise which needs to be respected and followed.