September 15-21, 2014
“Go 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 28:19-20 NIV
The crude man who preached in the wilderness as Christ’s forerunner was John. He was called “the Baptizer” because baptizing people was what he did as an important part of his ministry. Shortly before His ascension, our Lord referred to his baptism when He said, “John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:5).
To say that John baptized “with water” isn’t to make light of his baptism, as though it were only an outward cleansing rite (as baptisms were considered in Judaism). John’s baptism was in its time a means through which the Holy Spirit was given to kindle and strengthen faith in forgiveness of sins to be earned by Christ Jesus.
John’s baptism, however, was temporary. It was superseded by the Baptism instituted by Christ, the one greater than John, when He said: “Therefore go & make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father & of the Son & of the Holy Spirit.”
Before the Jesus’ disciples went out into all the world to preach, teach, and baptize, they received the Holy Spirit, who was poured out on them in extra-ordinary measure on the great day of Pentecost. Thus they received strength & direction for their ministry (which continued Christ’s mission on earth calling on all people to believe in Him for the salvation of their soul). The Spirit brought Jesus’ words to the forefront in their apostleship.
The greater baptism instituted by Jesus is still in effect. It bears the unabridged power to work forgiveness of sins, to deliver from death and the devil, and to give eternal salvation.
A man high in his 70’s recently said that the Baptism certificates of him and his wife hang over their beds, so that every day they are reminded of the great blessings still coming to them through their Baptisms. This because, as St. Paul has written, “(God) saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:5-6).
Let us pray that God may bring our Baptism to mind daily and especially when we seek strength and direction. God will grant it for Jesus’ sake. AMEN