Last Sunday, we baptized a husband and wife who recently decided to become followers of Jesus Christ.
And I did something I hadn’t done in 39 years of pastoral ministry – I baptized the gentleman by the wrong name. I did quickly recover and immediately laid him back into the water a second time with the right name.
As funny and crazy as that incident was, baptism is a serious moment. It is a time where we witness to others the choice we have made to follow Jesus Christ.
So why should a person be baptized?
First, we do so to follow the example set by Jesus. He was sinless, but he was baptized to show what would be expected of anyone who would decide to live a righteous life.
Second, a person is baptized because it is a commandment to the church as part of the "Great Commission," which says, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit ..."
Finally, a person is baptized because it demonstrates that he or she is a believer. Acts 18:8 tells us that "... many of the people who heard (Paul) believed and were baptized."
We believe baptism doesn’t make you a believer, it rather shows that you already believe.
As a pastor, I prefer immersion mainly because of the symbolism involved in it. When a person goes down into the water, it symbolizes the death and burial of Jesus. And when you come up out of the water, it symbolizes his resurrection.
In other words, when you are immersed, it identifies you with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the gospel in a nutshell.
We also see the symbolism of a transformed life through immersion. When a person is taken down into the water, it represents dying of the old life, while coming up out of the water symbolizes being raised to a new life.
Some may need to have a reason to be baptized. In other words, you need to choose to become a follower of Jesus Christ.
Others have made that decision but need to witness to others of that decision.