A couple of thoughts about baptism.
First, what a joy it is to be able to perform baptisms. How great to bring someone under water, and help them rise up again, knowing that through Christ they are a new creation. Actually, it already happened when they accepted Jesus, but the action is so symbolic.
It was so awesome to baptize Tammy and Kasee yesterday. I really wish I could fit in there with the person being baptized, it makes the moment so much more intimate and personal. They were filled with emotion and excitement. It really made me wonder why we lose that passion and excitement after awhile, since I really don't believe that is God's plan. Why lose the steam, the passion, the joy, the excitement of a new life with the Lord?
Secondly, in my Bible reading this morning, I am reading through Luke, Jesus said,
49"I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division" (12:49-51).
Note the way Jesus speaks about this baptism He must undergo. It is His horrendous death - the pain, the suffering, the humiliation. But note His words after that . . . how intriguing they are since we would think He would help us to feel better about the death, yet His life was meant to bring world transformation, not peace. Transformation is always messy, it means change, and change is a struggle (personally and corporately). Even further, Jesus said, He will bring division, family members will go against one another. It's what happens in family's when everyone is not a believer, plus when people are not on the same page.
It can be so easy to fight and bicker with one another, to give up every time something does not go our way, yet if we did that, we may as well all stay in bed. We may as well all just quit. Things are not always going to go the way we want, they don't for me, but God has a plan, and that plan is not to quit every time we hit a roadblock, every time we have some type of division, because that will always happen when we want to bring glory and honor to God. Beware of the peace and tranquility in the church, when that happens, that means we are not doing anything, and that is unacceptable. Actually it's unacceptable in the church as well as in our personal lives.
So . . . what is Christ calling you to do that may be a little radical, a little out there, that may make someone do a double take, but that will in the end bring glory and honor and joy and growth to His kingdom? If we don't risk, if we don't change, if we don't transform, then what does our baptism and Christ's death really mean?