What is like to be baptized or confirmed?
Reading: Matthew 3:13-17
Prop: water, bibles
Today we are going to think about baptism.
It is an important sacrament in our church.
We baptize people because what Jesus said: Matthew 28:19
“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.”
Since I am a new pastor, you may need to know how I think about baptism.
Then we may talk about our understanding of baptism together.
So in order to think about that, let’s think about Jesus and his baptism:
Then we may understand our own baptism.
Jesus was baptized when he was about thirty years old.
Before his baptism, he learned various things.
He learned from God.
He learned to think like God.
Then he was ready to live for God.
So Jesus decided to live doing God’s ministry as a perfect human being.
At the time John the Baptist was talking about Jesus.
John waited for Jesus to start his ministry.
John knew that Jesus would baptize people with the Holy Spirit and fire.
John knew that Jesus could really show who God is through his heavenly baptism.
Then in order to make a way for the ministry of Jesus, John preached and baptized people with water, as they repented.
Again what does “Repentance” mean?
It means to turn toward God and follow God’s way.
John asked people to turn away from their sin and live the life of God.
John asked them to share with their neighbors what they have.
John asked them to share if they had more than what they needed.
Jesus also came to John from Nazareth.
Then one day, Jesus also wanted to be baptized.
But John was like:
“You need to baptize me.”
But Jesus persuaded John saying:
“This is the right things to do.”
So, John obeyed. (Matt 3: 15)
So let’s think about this:
Jesus is fully God.
God asked John to baptize people to prepare the way of the Lord Jesus.
So it was Jesus who asked John to baptize people.
But then why did Jesus want to be baptized by John who was a human?
I think Jesus was recognizing that John was doing what God has asked him to do.
So Jesus honored John who was doing what God asked him to do.
But still, he didn’t need to be baptized.
Jesus was a perfect human being.
He didn’t have sinned.
He didn’t need to repent and be baptized.
But Jesus humbled himself.
He wanted to identify himself with the human.
Since Jesus became fully human, Jesus wanted to make a way so that other human beings may follow his way to serve God.
Like this, Jesus became the humble savior of all people.
God is like this.
God is always like that.
That's why God asks us to pray.
God doesn't need to hear from us.
God knows everything.
But God still wants to hear from us.
This is who God is.
So by being baptized, Jesus showed the humbleness of God.
Showing God’s character like this in his life was right things to do.
Following God’s humble design for his life was the right thing to do for Jesus.
So Jesus humbled himself and obeyed God’s way.
Then God honors Jesus.
God opened the heaven.
Then the Spirit of God descended like a dove and landed on Jesus.
The Holy Spirit came to Jesus so that the Holy Spirit may work with Jesus.
Then God the Father said:
“This is my beloved Son.
I am so well pleased with him.”
Then Jesus began his ministry as the savior.
After his baptism, Jesus started his ministry.
But right after his baptism, where did Jesus go?
Jesus was led to the desert.
If you will, he went to the school of desert.
There Jesus learned to understand the way of Cross.
There he decided to live his life as the Messiah.
There, he decided to obey God no matter what.
But at the desert, no one noticed what he was doing.
When no one saw, Jesus was faithful to God.
Then there Jesus started his ministry for God.
From this desert, Jesus continued serving God.
Then Jesus also taught people after that.
Now what do we learn from looking at the baptism of Jesus?
What does this baptism of Jesus explain about our baptism?
As we grow in faith, we were asked whether we wanted to be baptized.
Then we might have experienced this process after a water baptism:
We might have been baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Then we might have gone to the school of desert.
There we started our ministry to God when no one saw.
Then because of God’s grace, we were able to start living the life of Jesus in the desert.
Then from the desert, we continue serving God like Jesus.
When we are baptized, we may enter into this process.
When we are baptized, we are saying that we are willing to receive the Holy Spirit so that we may start serving the Living God.
When we are baptized, we are saying that we are willing to obey Jesus.
When we are baptized, we are saying that we want to follow the Spirit of Jesus who leads us and guides us.
We are saying that we want be trained by God to do some good works of God.
We are saying that we want God to train us to understand God’s way.
We are saying that we want to learn to obey God and be humble like Jesus.
And as always, obedience and humility leads us to Jesus.
Like this, we become a minister of God.
You know, every Christian is a minister of God.
Then we may be able to explain the way of kindness, peace, and humility of Jesus.
The Holy Spirit may help us to understand God and ourselves.
Then people around us may also experience the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit may help them because of us.
I remember my own baptism.
I remember before my baptism, there was baptismal classes.
It dealt with basics doctrine of faith.
And an elder of the church also talked with me about his faith and his testimony.
I think I also shared how I experienced Christ in my life.
In some church, if you want to be baptized, they baptize you right away.
But if we are not in hurry, I usually give about three classes for baptism.
It is to help them understand about their faith.
We may discuss some of these questions:
Who is Jesus?
What do we think about him?
How did we get to know Jesus?
I may ask them:
Do you have any questions about Jesus?
Do you have any questions about Holy Spirit?
Do you have any questions about God?
Do you have any questions about faith?
We may discuss what they need to know before their baptism.
They may ask:
Why do we use water in our baptism?
John used water because in his day, water is related to cleaning process.
Now we understand this water is like the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from our sins.
So through the baptism the church proclaims that our sins are forgiven.
We are cleansed spiritually and symbolically.
Through baptism, we also proclaim that we die with Jesus and rise with Jesus.
We are born again to live the life of Jesus.
After these classes, I ask them again if they still want to be baptized or they want to postpone and think about more.
In our church we also baptize babies.
It is called infant baptism.
When we baptize a baby, we baptize them based on parents’ willingness to raise the baby as a follower of Jesus.
But since they were babies, they didn’t really knew what was happening.
So when they are about 13, we give them a chance to decide whether they want to be followers of Jesus.
In our church it is called confirmation. 견신례
Through confirmation they recognize their own baptism.
As a church, we give them a chance to claim their own baptism.
Since they were baptized when they were babies, we don’t baptize one more time.
No one needs to be baptized twice.
If someone was baptized in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, our church usually accept their baptism.
We recognize their baptism.
We do ask for another baptism.
But then there are those who are teenagers but have not been baptized.
Then we baptize them if they want to be baptized.
But since they can think for themselves, we ask some questions for them to think about their faith.
We try to help them understand their faith journey.
We try to help them to understand about Jesus.
Then during baptismal classes, I may ask:
Are you ready to be baptized?
I'm not asking whether your parents want you to be baptized.
I'm not asking whether your grandparents want you to be baptized.
I'm asking whether you want to be baptized.
It has to be your decision.
Since they are old enough, I talk to them like this so that they may make their own decision.
Again when church baptizes a person, the church is simply recognizing them as someone who want to follow Jesus.
The church baptizes them based on their willingness to follow Jesus.
That is what the church does.
After baptism, the church is called to work with them to follow Jesus and spread his gospel.
In a sense, baptism or confirmation is like an engagement with God.
Someone has been dating with God awhile.
Someone has learned of God enough.
They have learned of Jesus enough.
They have experience God’s grace enough.
So they wish to live according to God’s will and plan.
They wish to receive the Holy Spirit.
They are ready to publicly announce their relationship with God.
Then through baptism, they publicly announce their relationship with God.
Then the whole church members also think about their own baptism and how far they have come.
The marriage of the Lamb will happen later.
If you will, the marriage with the Christ will happen later.
Then we may have a total union with Jesus the Christ. So at this time, we get ready to marry with God Jesus later.
Personally, I think it is good to be baptized during the Baptism of the Lord (January 2017), Pentecost (June 2017) or Easter (April 16 2017) because these days seem to explain about baptism very well.
When we are baptized, we become a member of a church.
That means, you may vote in church meetings.
So as members, we need to discern God’s will together so that we may follow Jesus together.
As members, we try to listen what God is saying to us.
Learning to listen to God is important for each member, because then we may be able to vote and help a church to do God’s desire.
Anyway, if someone wants to know more about baptism, it is important to understand about the faith of Jesus the Christ.
So it is a good idea to read four gospels of Jesus.
Then they may get to know Jesus enough to make a decision.
I guess that is enough about baptism.
Next week, we are going to learn more about why Jesus went to desert and what he learned there.
Jesus, thank you for showing us the way.
We have looked at your humble way.
Only those who are humble can enter into your narrow path.
Help us to be humble so that we may follow you, our humble savior who love us and has given your life for us on the cross.
Thank you for your love.
Thank you that you baptize us with the Holy Spirit so that we may live in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Help us to be with you forever.
Help us to live with you forever.
In Jesus name we pray.