Revelations from the Word

(Back to Index)


Baptism, the Way of Jesus

by Jean-Louis Coraboeuf

"John had a garment of camel's hair, and a leather belt around his waist. He fed himself on locusts and wild honey. The inhabitants of Jerusalem, of all Judea and of all the country surrounding the Jordan came out to him; and confessing their sins, they were baptised by him in the waters of the Jordan… Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptised by him. But John refused, saying: It is I who need to be baptised [baptizo] by You, and You come to me! Jesus answered him: Let it be done now, for it is fitting that in that way we accomplish all righteousness. And John resisted no longer" (Matthew 3:4-6,13-15).

Jesus Himself had to be baptised by John the Baptist, although initially the latter resisted. But this is the way that God's perfect plan was to be accomplished so that Jesus is the first in everything (Colossians 1:18). The apostle Peter wrote concerning Noah's ark and the flood, "It was an image of baptism which saves [sozo, save, deliver, protect] you now, and without which you cannot rid yourself of the impurities from the body, but which is the request [épérotema] to God for a clear conscience, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:21 Interlinear). The Greek word épérotema means request, wage; Peter therefore considers that baptism releases a request to God in order to set our conscience free from all future accusation by our enemy.

Although God had been patient with Noah's contemporaries, they refused to believe Noah and made fun of him (2 Peter 2:5). So the floodwaters spared eight souls from certain death, but also set their consciences free by destroying all their accusers as well as their leading accusers. It is not baptism that saves by itself, for we are saved by our faith (Ephesians 2:8), but it identifies us with the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is a request to God to wash our conscience from our past and all the accusations brought against us.

John the Baptist baptised with the baptism of repentance and prepared the way for Jesus. Therefore baptism is a legal act of the Kingdom of God; it was Jesus' way, it is ours too. Thus baptism associates us with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ so that we can walk in a new way with Christ (Romans 6:4). Baptism, immersion in a liquid [baptisma], is not an option in the life of the Christian, but a call to obey God in order to follow Jesus Christ. And if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we will certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5) at the rapture of the Bride.