Meaning his unthinkable death, Jesus said, "There is a baptism with which I must be baptized."

Thursday. 10/23/14

In the Gospel passage Jesus said, “There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished.” 

Seemingly, he was talking about his death, and I think we can turn that around to where we see something of the death of Jesus in our baptisms.

I am sure you have all heard this about our baptisms, but it is well worth repeating. In the early church Christians all saw their baptisms as pledges to die to sin with Jesus.

They made that clear by having baptisms only on Saturday of Holy Week. The same as we do, they thought of Jesus as dying on Good Friday, and as rising on Easter Sunday; but to a greater extent than we do, they thought of Jesus as lying dead in the tomb on that Saturday.

With that in mind, they saw their baptismal pool as a substitute for the tomb of Jesus. As well,  they made much of what Paul said in Romans 6:10,; namely, “His death was a death to sin.”

Jesus saved us by his death, but not by the nails and the agony. The thieves crucified with him experienced those things, and it was of no help to them or anyone else. It wasn’t the pain and agony of Jesus that save us.

No, it was his withstanding each and every temptation, starting with his baptism and forty days in the desert, and culminating at that last breath, when he said, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

By stepping down into the baptismal pool each candidate firmly acted out his or her resolution to die to sin with Jesus.

The sanitized baptismal ceremony you and I underwent as squalling infants lacked the dramatics of stepping into a tomb-like pool on the Saturday of Holy Week, but each of our baptisms embodied the same commitment. By joining ourselves to the death of Jesus we have committed ourselves to die with him to sin. 

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