• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Remembering Our Baptism

An infant/child baptism celebrates the work of God’s prevenient grace and for the church to confess their responsibility in the child’s life. We had just celebrated a baptism at our church when a few days later, Mom found the following letter and I pondered it as I prepared my heart for Easter.

"Dear Little Jill Dawn Jarrell,

Today was Easter Sunday. Your mama and daddy brought you to church. During the service they brought you up to the front of the church and I took you into my arms and baptized you "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

Our church was so full of folks that your grandparents, who had come for your baptism, were not able to come to the front and stand with your parents while I baptized you. You were very sweet during the service. You slept through it all.

Your parents are very fine folks and they want you to grow up in a good Christian home. So they took some vows which were quite binding upon them. But they do not mind this because they love you and they want the very best life possible for you.

May God bless you as you begin your life in the church."

What a special letter this is. I was reminded of my Baptism. I love that it reads, “they took some vows which were quite binding upon them. But they do not mind this because they love you and they want the very best life possible for you.” While I cannot remember my baptism I can remember that I was baptized and be thankful.

I was blessed to “remember my baptism” in the Jordan River a few years ago with a group from my church. In my mind, I return to the Jordan River where John is preaching repentance and righteousness and baptizing people. John the Baptist was Jesus’ older cousin. People come from Jerusalem and Judea to listen and to be baptized by him in the river. Jesus travels with the crowd to John. Matthew 3: 13-17, “ Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” I cannot imagine how John must have felt? It was backwards - Jesus should be baptizing him! “Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented. “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” So Jesus was anointed by the Spirit of God and blessed by a voice from heaven which declares him as the Son! This was a sign that Jesus' ministry was empowered by the Spirit! When Pastor Tim and Pastor Barry dunked me in the Jordan River, I remember the emotions were overwhelming. When I came up out of the water I could not stop the tears. Tears of gratitude and relief!

So why did Jesus have John baptize Him? Jesus did not need to repent or confess sins. Verse 15, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Jesus saw His life as the fulfillment of all righteousness. Baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. Baptism is a symbol of our faith. Baptism is a symbol of being buried and raised to life with Jesus. May the gift of baptism always be, for us, a sign of God’s love, grace and mercy. Let’s remember our baptisms.


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