Questions 104, 105 & 106

In some places in the world, when two people marry, they put on a ring. The ring is a sign. It shows other people that these two people have made promises to one another. They had already made the promises in their hearts.* But when they put on the rings, they were saying that they will keep their promise. Everyone who sees the ring knows that it is more than a simple ring. That ring is the sign that this person has promised themselves to someone.

 

For the person who follows Jesus*, baptism is the sign. It is the sign of a promise to follow Jesus.

 

We do not read about anyone being baptized in the Old Testament.* But, in the New Testament*, we know that Jews* sometimes baptized people in the time Jesus lived. Sometimes a person who was not a Jew wanted to become a Jew or follow the ways that the Jews followed. So, the Jews taught this person for a long time. When the teaching was finished, they would baptize the person. This was a sign that they were clean and could now go to the Temple.* But it was also a sign to show that what they used to be, was put behind them. Now, they are a new person. It was a sign that they had left one life and were starting a new one.

 

Why do Christian churches baptize people? Just before Jesus left his disciples* to go to heaven*, he gave a command. He said that they should take the good news about Jesus to all of the world. He also told them to baptize the people who believed the message. Then they were to teach those people all that Jesus had taught them. Christians baptize those who believe because Jesus told them to.[1] Christians* baptize in order to please and obey Christ.

 

Who should be baptized? In the book of Acts, Luke* tells us about the first message that Peter* spoke. He was with a crowd of people. He told them who Jesus was and why he had come. When they heard the message, their hearts were troubled because of their sin. So, they asked Peter and the other apostles*, ‘What should we do?’ Peter said, ‘Repent and be baptized.’ Later, in Acts, a man named Philip* was telling people about Jesus. After they heard the good news, many of them put their trust in Jesus. Then Philip baptized them.[2] Who should be baptized? The answer is, all of those who repent and put their trust* in Jesus.[3]

 

What does baptism mean? Paul writes to the Romans* that baptism is a picture of what happens to us when we come to Jesus. First, we go into the water. This shows that, when Jesus died, our old life died there with Jesus. When we are under the water, our old life is buried with Jesus. When we come up from the water, it is a picture that, in Jesus, we are rising to a new life.[4] Death could not keep Jesus in the grave. So, our baptism is a picture that death can not hold us either. God will raise us from death just as He raised the body of Jesus.

 

After God raised Jesus from the dead, everyone who believed in Jesus was baptized. All of the members of the first church were people who believed and were baptized.

 

Baptism is the way we show people that we have believed in Jesus. It is a sign to everyone who sees us that we have repented. We have believed. And we have become part of God’s family.


[1] Matthew 28:18:20
[2] Acts 9:26-40
[3] Acts 2:37-38; Acts 8:4-12
[4] Romans 6:3-4