One of the descriptions in Scripture that gives us an understanding of baptism is the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. As he rides toward home in his chariot, he has a copy of the Old Testament and is reading the prophet Isaiah. It so happens that he is reading Chapter 53 that speaks prophetically of Jesus’ death for us.
The analogy of Jesus as a sheep and lamb being led to the slaughter, captures his attention. God places Philip on the same road so this Eunuch can understand what he is reading. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35). What was the result of Philip’s explanation of Isaiah 53:7-8?
“And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:36–38).
It is evident that Philip’s explanation of the Scripture brought immediate conviction with the Eunuch that he should be identified with Jesus in His death and resurrection. The only way to express that was to go into water as a symbol of death. Coming out of that water was then a clear message that this man was identified with Jesus in new life.
Do we proclaim Jesus from the Scriptures with that kind of clarity?
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