Today’s is Julia’s baptism! We are so excited to celebrate with her this special moment. Julia, I want you to know that although today is your baptism, you’re not alone in your baptism. Do you remember how the Bible starts? The second verse in Genesis says, “…the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:2b). From the beginning God uses water for something special. We see him rescuing his people through water all throughout the Bible.
- God rescues Noah and his family from the flood on the ark (Gen 6-9).
- God rescues baby Moses from Pharaoh in a basket floating in the Nile (Exod 2).
- God rescues the Israelites from Egypt as they pass through the Red Sea on dry ground (Exod 14).
The verse from your testimony is Joshua 1:9. God tells Joshua “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” And then what happens right after this?
- God rescues the Israelites from wandering in the wilderness as Joshua and the Israelites pass through the Jordan river on dry ground.
- Elijah and Elisha walk through the Jordan river on dry ground (2 Kings 2).
- God heals the foreigner Naaman when he dips seven times in the Jordan river (Exod 5).
- God rescues Jonah by a fish swallowing him whole (Matt 12:39-40).
- John preached “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” as he baptizes in the Jordan river (Mark 1).
- Even Jesus is baptized in the Jordan river as he begins his mission to rescue us.
- Peter walked on water and sinks but Jesus rescues him.
- At the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry he tells us to go and make disciples, “baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matt 28:19)
- In Acts crowds of people and the Ethiopian eunuch are baptized as they become Christians (Acts 2:38, 8:12, 35-38).
- The final book, Revelation, tells us that when Jesus returns some aspects of water will be gone when it says “the sea was no more” (Rev 21:1). Chaos and death will be no more. But other parts of water remain, the cleansing and renewing aspect, which we see in the “water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:1).
I want you to know you’re not walking through these waters alone. God is here, with you, and your brothers and sisters in Christ, your church family, have gone before you. But there’s one person who passed through the deepest darkest waters, and that’s Jesus Christ. When he died on the cross he passed through the deepest darkest sea, death. When you pass through these waters, you’re identifying with more than all the people who have gone before you. You’re identifying with Jesus.
That’s why it’s so wonderful Jesus rose again. He’s not overcome by the waves of death. On the third day he rose again, and one day when Jesus returns you’ll rise again too. That’s why in baptism we go into the water but also come out. Just like God has brought all those believers before you safely through the waters, one day he’ll bring you safely through death into life and joy with Jesus.
So I have three questions for you:
- Do you want to identify with all those believers and your church family who have gone before you through your water baptism?
- Do you want to identify with Jesus and his death and resurrection through your water baptism?
- Do you repent of your sins, believe in Jesus alone, and trust him with your whole life?
Julia, because you identify with God’s people and with Jesus Christ through your baptism, and have received forgiveness for your sins through faith in Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, dead to sin, alive in Christ.
Written by Pastor Jonathan Romig.