Now that you’ve got some blogging experience under your belt, re-write your very first post.
Daily Prompt: Hindsight
I’ve only been on WordPress since October, and my first post was about the Words of Jesus – Fulfilling All Righteousness. So, this is take 2, and the very first thing I noticed about my original post is that the Scripture reference is incorrect (typo). There is no Matthew 3:18 – the quote is actually from Matthew 3:15… Therefore, no matter what I write, it’s already improved. 🙂
But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. (Matthew 3:15 NKJV)
Jesus allowed John to baptize Him in order to fulfill all righteousness. That’s just a small sentence, but they are first recorded words He spoke in the gospel of Matthew, which makes them very important. The whole gospel of Matthew points to Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy, and here, in this third chapter of Matthew, we see that He is not only the fulfillment of prophecy, but also the fulfillment of all righteousness.
Therefore, Christians need to ask themselves, “If Jesus said that baptism was necessary for Him to fulfill all righteousness, should we also be baptized?”
What do fulfill and righteousness mean anyway? Dictionary.com defines fulfill this way:
- to carry out, or bring to realization, as a prophecy or promise.
- to perform or do, as duty; obey or follow, as commands.
- to satisfy (requirements, obligations, etc.): a book that fulfills a long-felt need.
- to bring to an end; finish or complete, as a period of time: He felt that life was over
when one had fulfilled his threescore years and ten.
- to develop the full potential of (usually used reflexively): She realized that she could
never fulfill herself in such work.
So, if Jesus said it was necessary for Him to be baptized in order to fulfill (to satisfy the requirements) all righteousness, is it necessary for us to do so as well? According to what Jesus said, baptism is a necessity in order to fulfill all righteousness.
In fact, on the day of Pentecost, (after Jesus was resurrected from the dead, and after He ascended into heaven) His followers received the gift of the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages (tongues), and when the people in the city of Jerusalem saw them, many of them believed in Jesus and asked what they should do. Peter replied, “Each of you must turn from your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NLT)
It’s obvious from both Jesus’ response and Peter’s response that baptism is necessary to fulfill righteousness. I like how the Complete Jewish Bible translates this verse, Kefa (Peter) answered them, “Turn from sin, return to God, and each of you be immersed (baptized) on the authority of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) into forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit)!”
Do you see? When we turn to Jesus, we turn away from sin, and we turn to God. This is called repentance. And when we turn to Jesus, we must be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins, or as the Complete Jewish Bible explains more clearly, we must be immersed on the authority of Jesus.
Dictionary.com gives us this definition for immerse:
- to plunge into or place under a liquid; dip; sink.
- to involve deeply; absorb: She is totally immersed in her law practice.
- to baptize by immersion.
- to embed; bury.
You’ll notice firstly, that immersion/baptism is not sprinkling, spraying or dripping. 🙂 It is to be plunged into or placed under a liquid… to involve deeply; absorb… to embed; bury. The apostle Paul explains the necessity of baptism more clearly in Romans 6.
You see, when we are baptized, we have turned away from sin, and our immersion into the water symbolizes the death and burial of our sinful nature. Then, as we arise from beneath the water (which symbolizes our grave), it symbolizes that just as Christ was resurrected from death, so we are resurrected into new life. Therefore, if anyone is united with the Messiah, he is a new creation – the old has passed; look, what has come is fresh and new! (2 Corinthians 5:17 CJB)
How awesome is that? By submitting myself to baptism, I am submitting to Christ’s authority in my life. I’m saying that the sin that used to enslave me is dead and buried, and now I’m a new creation. Hallelujah! I’m fresh and new! You see, I’m no longer controlled by sin, even when I mess up and sin, it’s lost its control over me, because those bonds of slavery have been loosed.
Now, I have a new Master. I’m now a slave of righteousness. I submit to the authority of Jesus Christ, and His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. You see, He tells me to cast all of my cares on Him, because He cares for me.
When sin was my master, it didn’t care about me. When I was a slave to sin, I suffered much pain, and many terrible consequences for my actions. Sin was a cruel master. Sin’s ultimate goal for my life was death and eternal damnation.
My new Master, Jesus Christ, the Sun of Righteousness has given me so much more. You see, His ultimate goal for my life is an eternity spent with Him…
So, in conclusion, is it necessary for us to be baptized to fulfill all righteousness? Yes and no. 🙂 Jesus forgave the thief on the cross, and he certainly didn’t have a chance to be baptized before he died, yet Jesus said, “I assure you, today you will be with Me in paradise.”
So, while baptism is not a requirement, the more I study the scriptures, the more I see the necessity of baptism. Think of it this way, if you were invited to a feast at the King’s table, and you were told you could eat as much as you want of everything that was there, would you do it? Or would you say, “No thank you. I’ll just lick the crumbs off the floor.” I can’t answer for you, but I can tell you what my answer is. Hallelujah! I want it all!