When our kids were toddlers, we had friends with a swimming pool. [Isn't it great to have friends with a swimming pool?] We were super cautious parents taking our kids into the pool. We put floats and vests all over them! They could have survived a hurricane on the open seas. Looking back, I'm fairly certain they never actually got wet...just floated on the surface.
But Moses' mother made a basket of reeds and sent her son down river (a river which flowed to the sea and was filled with crocodiles). Why did she do it? She was so desperate to save her son who was going to die anyhow. God led her to the water.
[Read Exodus 2]
Scripture teaches us that we are born into poverty (the Bible calls this 'sin'). Just like Moses, we are under the curse of death. As we trust in God, we pass through the waters (baptism) and arise out the other side sons and daughters of God. As I read again this story of Moses in his infancy, it reminded me of the importance of 'going through the waters' and Christian baptism.
1] It's in the water we are buried. [Romans 6:3, 6-7] Essentially, Moses' mom put a dead boy in the water. It was a burial, and her grief was deep and real. When we baptize believers, we immerse them in water. Why? Because it resembles burial. We are buried in Christ...
2] It's in the water we are cleansed. [Hebrews 10:22] My kids often argue whether or not they need a bath, but our noses tell us a different story! We often can smell our own stench. But when essence of your kids lingers behind after they leave, it's time to bathe. It's in the water our guilty conscience and bodies are washed.
3] It's in the water we are adopted. [Galatians 3:27] I love this one. When we are baptized, we are united with Christ and given a new name and new identity as we are adopted as God's own.
4] It is in the water we are resurrected. [Romans 6:3-5] Like Moses -- whose name means 'drawn up from the water' -- we are brought out of the water into new life. When we baptize, I always end with these words: "You are buried in Christ and raised into new life." When Moses came up out of the water, death was behind him. He was buried a pauper and raised a prince.
5] It's in the water we are initiated. [1 Corinthians 12:13] Baptism connects us in committed relationship to the local church and makes us part of the Eternal Church (One Body). Baptism immerses the individual into the community of Christ. You become us.
6] It's in the water we are equipped. [Acts 2:38] Yes, there's a promise of forgiveness, but there's also a promise for the gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us and equips us, which leads to my final point...
7] It's in the water we are ordained. [Mark 1] Jesus wasn't baptized for cleansing or forgiveness; he was baptized to be released into his ministry! When we come up out of the water -- just like Moses -- God sends us out to serve him!
For whatever the reason, Jesus connects our trust in him with the need for baptism. Being washed is important to Jesus (John 13; Mark 16:15-16). Baptism is our confession, and Jesus tells us "Whoever confesses me before men, I will also confess him before my Father" (Matthew 10:32). Max Lucado said, "Baptism separates the tire kickers from the car buyers."
While we don't believe baptism saves you, we do believe trusting Jesus does. And he says going into the water is very important. God is calling us out of death, and He has made a way for our salvation.
And that is some pretty good news.