Baptize or Baptism occurs 100 times in the New Testament. It's a frequent subject. Rob begins with some of the origins of baptism and tells us that mikvahs were around even before the traditions of John the Baptist.
Jesus, the only person in the history of the world who didn't need cleansing from sin, was baptized. After the baptism of our Lord, the gospels don't really mention it again until the Great Commission. There we are commanded to go and make disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Rob also shares the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch.
He then proceeds to tell us that the Bible tells us 3 things about baptism. It is biblical, basic and beneficial. He asks the question, "Why did Jesus not select some other symbol?" His answer... There is only one real baptism.
There is Only One Real Baptism
The one real baptism he is speaking of is the baptism of suffering and sin cleansing by Jesus on the cross. Rob refers to a request by the mother of James and John to have her sons sit at his right and left in the coming Kingdom. Jesus' answer is "Can you be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" In Luke 12 he says this,
50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed!
The baptism in these two passages are references to the cross and the passion of the Christ. Rob says,
"the only real baptism took place on the Cross of Jesus Christ and in the tomb and at the Resurrection. Baptism is synonymous with the suffering and passion of Christ."
Two Symbolic Baptisms
In this section Morgan shares something that I don't think I have ever thought about before. I had always thought of Jesus' own water baptism as an example for us to follow. But Rob shares with us the idea that Jesus Baptism was also a picture of what He would suffer and the kind of death that He would die, and the picture that he would be raised again! What a thought. Rob says,
"Think of it! The first thing Jesus did in His earthly ministry was to provide a vivid symbol of what would take place at the climax of His earthly years. He was previewing His passion -- His death, burial, and resurrection. He was telling the world in advance what He was going to do for us on the cross."
This is the first symbol of baptism - Jesus picture of His own passion.
The second symbol is ours. It's the baptism that we see in our churches (and sometimes ponds and lakes) throughout the year. This is our symbol of identifying with Christ. Rob points out that in baptism we start vertically, then are buried horizontally, and then are raised vertically again. He makes a special note that Jesus died vertically. This isn't normally how people die. They often die laying down, but our Lord died hanging vertically on a cross. He was buried in a tomb, and then He rose again on the third day.
When we are baptized with are identifying with our Lord's death, burial and resurrection. Claiming His cleansing and following his teachings to walk in newness of life.
I really like how Rob summed this up:
Our Lord's Baptism in water looked forward to the cross, and our baptism in water looks back at the cross.
He concludes with another good verse to put to memory...
Romans 6:4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.