Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. —Acts 2:41
It would have been wonderful to have beheld these three thousand souls being baptized on the Day of Pentecost so many years ago. Imagine the long lines of new converts waiting in anticipation for their turn to enter the water. See the smiles and hear the rejoicing and singing. Hear the shouts of praise and watch the hands in the air raised in adoration to Jesus Christ. What a profound impact that sight must have had on the people looking on who had rejected Christ.
I am so thankful to have had a life-changing experience of salvation as a child and to have been buried with Christ in baptism. I have been privileged to baptize others: in an African stream where a crocodile lived, in tape worm-infested waters, in muddy stagnate water, in clean flowing rivers, in a canal in Pakistan, in a freezing lake in Canada and in baptisteries within chapel walls. While there is no more spirituality in baptizing in one place over the other, I personally appreciate being in a natural environment as a testimony to the world.
I was burdened this quarter to share some of the Bible truths on the subject of baptism. My heart is grateful for the heritage of truth and for the light that we still have today. Baptism is important and I have seen amongst some of God’s people a lessening of zeal and fervor for baptism. Baptism should not be an afterthought when someone is newly converted. It should be one of the first acts of obedience after salvation. May the Spirit rekindle amongst God’s people the value and beauty of this teaching and practice.
The words of the songwriter, Bro. Ulysses Phillips, come to mind: “A resurrection I confess, has taken place within my breast; I’ve been awakened from the dead, and now I live with Christ instead….O praise the Lord for victory, from death to life He lifted me; By His great love and power divine, Eternal life is truly mine.” That song encapsulates the testimony of what baptism represents.
May each reader be edified and inspired as you mediate upon the beauty and symbolism of baptism.
Michael W. Smith