The Third Piece of the Great Commission: Baptize in the Name of the Father, Son, Holy Spirit
Mike’s Note: This is the third post in a series of posts detailing the PDBTW acronym of the Great Commission. You can read from the beginning of this series here.
In the process of preaching and making disciples, it is clear through Matthew 28 that Jesus wanted those doing the ministry to baptize all new followers in Himself. So what is it that is so important about baptism? Here’s a few quick thoughts:
1. Baptism is an act of obedience for followers of Jesus
Much like what I’ve written already about followers of Jesus obeying the Great Commission command because Jesus said so, baptism is the same issue. Because Jesus tells His followers to be baptized, we should obey. I personally think that obeying Jesus, even when we don’t understand why, is one of the great problems with the Church today. On the face of it, be may not understand what the meaning or reason for baptism is, but Jesus says to do it, so we should!
2. Baptism is a public profession of faith
So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33 ESV)
While this topic may get some feathers ruffled, I believe it’s not a stretch to say that a public profession of faith is important for the new believer. One of the key elements of many evangelistic programs is for the new believer to tell someone about their new faith. There’s something powerful about this element, as it brings to light the decision they’ve made and the process of having to say to someone else, ‘I’ve accepted Jesus into my life’ makes it ‘real.’ In the same way, since baptism is important to Jesus, for many new believers it may be the first time they’ve publically obeyed Jesus.
3.Throughout the New Testament, it was a very normal part of their ministry
Just by doing a simple search using online Bibles for terms like baptism and baptizing, it’s clear that as Jesus, His Disciples, and later ministry leaders like Paul were out and about doing ministry, they were not only preaching and church planting, but they were baptizing those coming to faith. One of the easiest ways to have a biblical ministry is to do the things we see biblical leaders doing!
4. Jesus Himself was baptized!
Finally, we see Jesus getting baptized in several of the gospel accounts. At first, this seems senseless since Jesus was sinless and had no need to be washed from His sins. I think this was an example of Jesus leading by example, saying by his actions, “Baptism is important and if I’m asking you all to do it, I’ll do it too.” It is also His way to identify with sinful man, who needed to be cleansed of sin.