Philip, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, had found a Ethiopian eunuch traveling the road between Jerusalem and Gaza. The eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah, but was perplexed, so Philip started with that scripture, (Isaiah 53:7-8) and explained to the eunuch the good news of Jesus. Later as they traveled together, they came upon some water and it’s here the eunuch asks, “Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” Now in some late manuscripts verse 37 is added which says, “Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The eunuch answered, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ ” Baptism is the public demonstration of a personal decision…it symbolizes spiritual renewal, forgiveness of sins, adoption by God and eternal life. If you are a Believer but have never been baptized…ask yourself the same question the eunuch did, “Why shouldn’t I be baptized?”
Baptism…just as during the time of John the Baptist, is a public action, for an internal, personal decision for Christ. It symbolizes the spiritual cleansing through the forgiveness of sins to those who repent and believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Baptism is part of the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18, “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” As a new Christian, you don’t have to be perfect before you can be baptized…you don’t have to have it “all together” and cleaned up prior either. Baptism is a public “Just as I am” coming to Jesus moment.
The act of water baptism is full of symbolism and meaning. For those watching, it’s a public declaration of the person’s inner decision. For the person being baptized, it’s a time of newness of soul and spirit. In Romans 6:4 it says, ” 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.” Therefore, within the action of water baptism, our old self dies, and our new self emerges out of the water.
Water baptism is an outward declaration of an inward commitment. When we are lowered into the water, our “old self” dies…only to be brought up or raised up to new life. That fleshly, worldly body is gone…exchanged for a new spiritual one. Our mortal body has been exchanged for an immortal one that is no longer a slave to sin. As it says in II Corinthians 5:17, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old is gone, the new has come!” We come up out of that water a new person in Christ.