Water Baptism and Jesus

In Genesis 1:9-13, it is described how God, on the third day of creation, divided the land from the waters and brought forth life through the water.

Genesis 1:9-13 — God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place and let dry ground appear.” It was so. God called the dry ground “land” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” God saw that it was good. God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds and trees on the land bearing fruit with seed in it, according to their kinds.” It was so. The land produced vegetation – plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good. There was evening, and there was morning, a third day.

A similar pattern occurred when life emerged from the waters following the flood.

Genesis 8:6-12 — At the end of forty days, Noah opened the window he had made in the ark and sent out a raven; it kept flying back and forth until the waters had dried up on the earth. Then Noah sent out a dove to see if the waters had receded from the surface of the ground. The dove could not find a resting place for its feet because water still covered the surface of the entire earth, and so it returned to Noah in the ark. He stretched out his hand, took the dove, and brought it back into the ark. He waited seven more days and then sent out the dove again from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there was a freshly plucked olive leaf in its beak! Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth. He waited another seven days and sent the dove out again, but it did not return to him this time.

The Red Sea – A Figure

Once more, it was witnessed as the children of Israel crossed the Red Sea and embarked on a new life in a covenant with God.

Exodus 14:26-31 — The LORD said to Moses, “Extend your hand toward the sea, so that the waters may flow back on the Egyptians, on their chariots, and on their horsemen!” So Moses extended his hand toward the sea, and the sea returned to its normal state when the sun began to rise. Now the Egyptians were fleeing before it, but the LORD overthrew the Egyptians in the middle of the sea. The water returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the army of Pharaoh that was coming after the Israelites into the sea – not so much as one of them survived! But the Israelites walked on dry ground in the middle of the sea, the water forming a wall for them on their right and on their left. So the LORD saved Israel on that day from the power of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the shore of the sea. When Israel saw the great power that the LORD had exercised over the Egyptians, they feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in his servant Moses.

Throughout Scripture, we can observe the recurring motif of life being associated with water. This concept finds its counterpart and fulfilment in Christ and baptism in the New Testament.

1 Peter 3:20-21 — after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

1 Corinthians 10:1-4 — For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they were all drinking from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

When John went to prepare the way for Christ, he baptised people for repentance and forgiveness of sins. Jesus, without needing repentance or forgiveness, approached John to receive baptism.

Matthew 3:14-15 — John tried to stop him, saying, ‘I should be the one getting baptised by you. Why are you coming to me?'” Jesus replied, ‘Yes, let it happen now because it is the right thing for us to do to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he agreed”

What was the reason for Jesus’ baptism?

Why is it necessary to “fulfil all righteousness”? What does this phrase mean?

There is more to consider beyond simply doing the right thing. Jesus initiated the process of restoring people’s relationship with God. He arrived to fulfil God’s plan by aligning Himself with John’s work and intentions. John came before Jesus and showed that He was the Messiah.

Jesus confirmed John’s work by undergoing baptism, demonstrating that He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Saviour who removed the sins of the world (John 1:29-34).

John 1:29-34 — On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is greater than I am, because he existed before me.’ I did not recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he could be revealed to Israel.” Then John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending like a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. And I did not recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining – this is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have both seen and testified that this man is the Chosen One of God.”

Jesus aligned Himself with all believers who sought the kingdom. With this act, His ministry began, where He preached about the kingdom and urged people to repent. It paved the path for the new life in Him. It was the starting point that eventually led to His death, resurrection, and ascension.

Jesus’ baptism was a preview of the important work He would later do. Baptism is a symbolic act that represents death, burial, and resurrection through immersion.

Paul used this as an example for all believers:

Romans 6:3-4 — Or do you not know that as many as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too may live a new life.

Jesus’ baptism foreshadowed His death, burial, and resurrection, serving as a model for believers.

Ministry And Baptism

Jesus took baptism very seriously and set an example for others to follow. He always practised what He preached. His ministry started with baptism, and His teachings on baptism were fundamental to what He desired His disciples to carry out.

This is evident in the great commission:

Matthew 28:18-20 — Then Jesus came up and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

By being baptised, disciples unite with Jesus and His sacrifice. He showed people how to perform baptisms using His authority. During the day of Pentecost, Peter delivered a sermon where he advised those seeking guidance on what to do. He encouraged them to repent and be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. By doing so, they would also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 — Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one 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.

Baptism is served as a way to repent and have one’s sins forgiven. It is done in the name of Jesus, following His example.

As mentioned, baptism symbolises our participation in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Several other passages in the New Testament demonstrate the importance of this act.

Galatians 3:26-27 — For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Colossians 2:12-14 — Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead. And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions. He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness expressed in decrees opposed to us. He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.

1 Peter 3:20-21 — after they were disobedient long ago when God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you – not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience to God – through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

Acts 22:16 — And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’

It’s important to understand that this practice goes beyond mere formality. It is a way to seek forgiveness from God through the sacrifice of Jesus and to unite with Him in His crucifixion and resurrection. We also feel a bond with others in His kingdom who eagerly anticipate His return. And for this reason, we urge others to make peace with God.

Jesus is the One who gives baptism its true significance. He established the basis for it during His baptism, instructed His followers to baptise others as part of their discipleship, and continues to operate through those who have been baptised into Him today.

Galatians 3:27 — Those who have been baptised into Christ have now become clothed with Christ.

Water remains a source of life, while the blood of Christ serves as our salvation.



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Godwin Shon Sequeira
Godwin Shon Sequeira
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