“One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened,”
Luke 3:21 NLT
“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.”
Matthew 3:13 NLT
What does it really mean to be baptized? I looked it up. The greek word used here is “baptizo.” It literally means to dip, submerge, and immerse. I decided to delve even further into what happens when you immerse something. Synonyms for the word immerse are saturate, marinate, steep, submerge, dip, dunk, sink, plunge, soak, and drench. Is that painting a spiritual picture for anybody else? I did an experiment. I took a paper towel and submerged it into a glass of water. The towel soaked up the properties of the water. The paper towel was saturated with water. Let’s take this thought process a step farther. What happens when you take a white T-shirt and immerse it into red Ritz dye? What color does the white T-shirt become? Red right? No way could that white t-shirt become purple, right? The white t-shirt soaked up the properties of the red dye, and no matter how many times you try this the principal it stays the same. The t-shirt will become whatever color of dye you choose because it will soak up that color.
That is what baptize means. When we are baptized into Christ, we are symbolically showing we are soaking up the character of Jesus and we come out saturated to become like Him. We are soaking up His heart and His compassion for people. We are marinating ourselves in who He is. We are drenching ourselves with Christ. We are submerging our lives into His. We have decided to steep our thoughts into His life. Now that is a synonym I love. Steep. I love a good cup of hot tea, but I have learned there is an art to making a good cup of green tea. First you have to boil the water and let it become a certain temperature then you put your tea leaves into a tea ball strainer and submerge the tea into the water and let it steep. The definition of steep – to soak in water or other liquid, as to soften, cleanse, or extract some constituent. When it comes to cooking, “steeping” something means to permit dry ingredients to soak inside a liquid until that liquid tastes like the dry ingredient. WOW!!!
Before we come to Christ we are dry ingredients. He wants us to steep in His living water until we taste like His living water!!!
This Sunday my church did “The Plunge.” That is what we call the Sunday we baptize new believers. When I wrote that a synonym for immerse is plunge, again that is just so perfect a name for baptismal Sunday. I have to tell you what I witnessed that left me cheering like crazy for God. I forgot how many we baptized but the ages ranged from childhood to the elderly, and there were many, but the final one is what left me in tears. She was a 70 year old woman who could only walk with a walker and was on oxygen. She had come in public confession of her faith in Jesus Christ to be immersed in the baptismal waters of our dunking tank. Four burly men of God picked her up from her wheelchair, carried her to the tub which stands at least four feet, the other new christians had to climb up a ladder and lower themselves into the water, but she was carefully carried and carefully lowered into the water by these servants of God. It was a scene right out of the bible when the four friends lowered their paralyzed friend through the rook so they could place him in front of Jesus. My pastor then gently lowered her into the water with the help of these men and baptized her in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We cheered as she was carefully pulled up out of the water and gently carried back to her wheelchair. She received a standing ovation by many. That took courage. I was inspired. Kevin quoted an astronomical statistic about how hard it is for people over 30 to receive Jesus Christ in their older ages. He knows because his granddad accepted Jesus as his Savior in his twilight years right before his death and Kevin looked up that stat.
I love witnessing “The Plunge” in our church. It is not a solemn occasion. We celebrate! We Amen! And we Hallelujah!
Soak up Jesus!