The email came this past week. They wanted me to baptize them. I was all for them being baptized but who was I to perform it? I’m not ordained. You have to be a pastor to baptize. Right? This felt wrong and yet I felt like I was supposed to do it. I began to ponder all of the scriptures I could remember about baptism. Is there a reason it has to be a pastor or was it just the tradition I was raised in? I don’t want to be disrespectful to the church and I don’t want to be bound to legalism. Nonetheless, I was uncomfortable with the idea.
I began listening to last weeks message from Saddleback Church as I do most weeks. The message was being delivered by Phil Robertson from Duck Dynasty. He shared a story of gentleman who kept cursing with God’s name. He invited this person to come to his house and he would explain why he shouldn’t be using God’s name this way. Some time passed and the gentleman and a friend showed up at his doorstep. Phil shared his testimony. They accepted Christ, and then he took them out behind the house to the creek and baptized them. My first thought was if Phil can do it, I can do it.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28 (NIV).
Jesus’ command in this scripture is for all of us. All of us who have found Jesus as Savior, are disciples and called to live out the Great Commission. We are called to make disciples of all nations and baptize them. I was feeling more confident about the request, but out of reverence for the Church, I needed to research some additional sources. I found plenty of sources that confirmed my understanding.
The two women that wanted me to baptize them are my sisters. I may be the baby in the family, but I have been their spiritual mentors for many years. They had never been baptized by immersion and they wanted to add that experience to their changed lives. I wanted to honor them and God. Then I found this scripture:
21 And baptism, which is a figure [of their deliverance], does now also save you [from inward questionings and fears], not by the removing of outward body filth [bathing], but by [providing you with] the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God [because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours] through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 3 (AMP).
This was exactly what they were wanting inward cleanness and peace. This was their personal expression of faith before God. I knew I needed to do this. Before we got started, I confessed my journey of the week and feeling uncomfortable. I read them this scripture from 1 Peter and prayed before we went to the water.
Somehow it changed me too. God is funny that way. This was about my sisters and their faith journey and it turned out to be about mine, as well. I was being called to step out in faith in a new way. Somehow the power of the Gospel became stronger within me. The Holy Spirit ignited a renewed passion within me. It was a great afternoon that went too fast. I pray that someday I can have the privilege of performing a baptism again. It was an incredible honor to do this for my sisters.
How about you? Are you ready to baptize? Are you ready to be baptized? Share your thoughts. Would you struggle? Would you step up to the call.