Today’s message focused on the significance and importance of baptism in the Christian faith. A topic of hot debate in some circles, we looked at the origins of this practice and the symbolism it holds.
During the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew (the end of the Old Testament and start of the New Testament), the Bible is silent. Historians researching this period have discovered Jews put in place certain steps required for Gentiles to convert. Included in these steps was a ceremonial washing. The title of this post is the Greek word used to describe this washing; transliterated, baptism. 2400 years ago, this washing was something done in private to signify one’s cleansing of their soul choosing to follow the rules for life God set in place.
This practice evolved into a public display of an individual’s faith by the time Jesus himself was baptized. The symbolism remained the same, cleansing one’s soul before God, but adding a public dynamic made it a significant statement in a person’s life because their entire community could hold them accountable for their faith.
The significance and meaning of baptism today has not changed since; it is a public declaration of how you will live from that moment on. Many people who call themselves Christians have not taken that next step of baptism, for one reason or another. Taking that step removes any “out” from following the Christian faith because it is a “coming out” of sorts. You are proclaiming this is who you are, you believe Jesus is who he said, and you will spend the rest of your life trying to emulate him. Bold words for a public demonstration that takes courage to follow through with.
My sketch this week depicts person following through with this ceremonial soul cleansing. I imagined walking through a gently flowing mountain waterfall. The water is crisp and cold, feeling like it instantly removes the film of dirt and grease slathered on by life as I slowly pass through it. The clean air on the other side of the wall of water is clean and refreshing. This is baptism.