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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Baptism: my story, my thoughts and my questions - Part 2

Why did I do it? 

 I think I wanted to be there.  I wanted to be the one who said "Yes, Jesus... I want to follow you."  I wanted to show my family and friends that this was my choice... my commitment. I remember a joyful feeling as I was immersed in the water.  I remember coming up feeling that something had begun in my life. It was something new.

 I don't believe God loved me any more in that moment.  It wasn't the beginning of my faith journey, just another milestone on the way.  Just a reminder to myself and others that I was going to continue on the journey. I am still glad I did it.

Why is it done?

I have been through the denominational spectrum in the last twenty years.  There are always rules when it comes to baptism, depending on what club you want to be a part of.  How old? How much water? Who gets to do the baptizing?  What seems so ironic is that every denomination gets their baptism rules from the same source.  Or that is what they claim.

This is what I found in Mark when I went digging under a baptism theme.  From the lips of John the

Baptist... via the Message translation.

I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”
-Mark 1:8 (MSG)

John baptized for  repentance... which is just another word for change.  Repentance isn't about remorse, it is a 180 degree turn.  John invited people to change, but made it clear that someone was coming that would facilitate that change.  Jesus was coming: the Holy Spirit was coming... Their dip in the Jordan River was the response to the invite.  Jesus was the fulfillment.

Who's right? 

There are two main camps when it comes to Baptism and it's rules, regulations, theology and doctrine (as explained in this clip from Wikipedia) 

Infant baptism is the practice of baptising infants or young children. In theological discussions, the practice is sometimes referred to as paedobaptism or pedobaptism from the Greek pais meaning "child". The practice is sometimes contrasted with what is called "believer's baptism", or credobaptism, from the Latin word credo meaning "I believe", which is the religious practice of baptising only individuals who personally confess faith in Jesus, therefore excluding underage children. Infant baptism is also called christening by some faith traditions.

I have lived in both camps over the duration of my life and I have friends and loved ones in both camps.  For me to say that one is better or more biblical than the other isn't going to help anyone.  I am done debating because it only leads to broken hearts and wounded relationships. Maybe I am a peacekeeper... but I am concluding that there are much more important things to spend my energy on... and it is not debating baptism rules.  

Why did Jesus do it?
I watched a Youtube clip of a Jesus movie.  Jesus walked into the Jordan River to get baptized by John.  For him it wasn't about repentance or forgiveness of sins. Why did the Son of God choose baptism? There is a world of people that have opinions and suppositions that attempt to answer that question.  

Could it be that Jesus' baptism was a milestone in his journey.  His baptism wasn't the beginning of his journey.  He already had an eternity with his Father and thirty years on earth experiencing life among his creation.  Here is the story from the New Living Translation.  
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.  But John tried to talk Him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by You, ” he said, “so why are You coming to me?” ) But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize Him. After His baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on Him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is My dearly loved Son, who brings Me great joy.  Matthew 3:13-17 (NLT)

Jesus was embarking on his mission.  The mission that brought him to humanity.  When I read this story, I see a Son embarking on a mission and a Father giving his Son his blessing as he goes.  
"Hey, Everybody, get ready... this is my Son and I am proud of him. He has given me great joy, now I am giving him to you so you may have great joy too."  

That would by my take on it.  So if that was Jesus experience at his baptism, would it be so bad to loose the religion surrounding the tradition and simply be baptized because our Father wants to express his joy with us?  

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