Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christian Baptism (10/18/07)
TITLE: Have You Considered My son, Jesse?
By Diane Bertrand
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First, Jesse goes to the dictionary for a definition of baptism. It speaks of being immersed or sprinkled with water as a Christian rite. Next he looks to the Greek and Hebrew definitions of the word.
Here he finds that the Greek definition is to change suddenly, to dye, to dip, to wet, to immerse. In the Jewish culture, Jesse finds baptism is identified with a ritual and with purification, rebirth or sudden change.
Already Jesse is beginning to understand why there were so many “opinions” among believers as to the definition of baptism. He also read in different articles that the Bible refers to up to seventeen different types of baptism. “Whew! How am I going to sort through all of this?” , Jesse thinks. Wanting to give the best report, he presses on.
Next, in order to get the most rounded view of the subject, Jesse hit’s the streets. He asks friends, family and neighbors what spiritual baptism means to them. Some refer him to the book of Acts where the apostles received the Spirit, others refer to John the Baptist , who said he baptized with water, but One would come who would baptize with the Spirit and with fire. Others refer to believer’s baptism and it’s being an outward sign of an inner change and a public demonstration of a commitment to follow Christ in death to self, and resurrection to new life in Him. Some refer him to the fruits of the Spirit, or the gifts of the Spirit…
Jesse had been baptized himself last year. It was a great day! He understood that he was publicly declaring his commitment to Christ and he felt sure that it was the next natural step after believing and accepting Jesus as his Savior. But he also knew in his heart that there is more to spiritual baptism than just this.
He remembers how he used to hear Bible stories as a kid, and as he got older, how he’d read the Bible for himself when his mom told him to. The stories were neat, but there was so much Jesse didn’t understand. Then he remembers how after He accepted Jesus as his Savior, things changed; he changed. He began to want to read the Bible , on his own, without his mom’s prompting, and the more he read, the more he understood. Suddenly he wasn’t just reading a book ABOUT God, he was reading a book FROM God. And it was not just a story about a bunch of people that lived thousands of years ago; it was a story about his family. Now it was no longer just history, it was his story.
Thinking back Jesse also sees that the more he understood of the Bible, the more he saw his need to change and the more he asked God to help him change, the more he saw the fruit and character of the Spirit in himself. He began to see and do things differently. He suspects, also, that this is not a one time thing, but by the grace of God, it will be a lifelong experience.
With all his research , Jesse decides that in this case his best report will come from what he knows best; his own experience. He decides to base his essay on his conclusion of his case. In his essay he states that he believes that, at least in his case, God instantaneously and miraculously changed him the moment He trusted his life to Jesus; it was just taking him (Jesse) some time to catch up.
Could it be that at fourteen, Jesse’s wisdom regarding spiritual baptism surpasses that of all his references? I don’t know. But one thing I do know; for all his sincere searching, God is pleased and smiling on Jesse.
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