One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?”
Luke 20:1–4, ESV
If you ever want to open a door for rigorous discussion in a group of varied Christians from different faith segments, bring up baptism. Particularly, discuss the benefits of salvation through Baptism. Being Lutheran, I believe that Baptism is a saving act from God given to us as a Sacrament of water with the Word that cleanses and washes away original sin in our lives, but this is only the beginning. It is an ongoing gift as we continue to walk within this reality each day as we realize our sins and receive forgiveness from God through daily confession within our prayers. The Baptism we receive is not the Baptism of John, a baptism of repentance. It was an act that had to be redone. When Jesus came to the waters, it became a baptism into new life. Even so, Jesus challenged them with this question. He knew that the Baptism of John was given by God for the purpose of Jesus’ act within the waters. After Jesus’ Baptism, John’s Baptismal ministry was ended. John was simply a forerunner for the coming of Jesus to prepare hearts and minds for the coming Messiah. Faith was in John within his mother’s womb, and his life was a life dedicated to God and His work in the world. If Baptism were only an act of obedience, it would be an act of man. However, if it be a calling of God, it is truly something to be gloried and born from Heaven. This is the question that all of us should seek to answer as the mysteries of God are revealed to us. In whose name are we baptized, and what benefits do we receive in baptism? As I see from Jesus’ words, we receive the healing of our souls and adoption into the family of God, which brings us into His embrace for eternity.
Let us pray. I thank you, my heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ, your dear Son, that you have kept me this night from all harm and danger, and I ask you to protect me this day also from sin and every evil, that in all I do today, I may please you. For into your hands, I commend myself, my body and soul, and all that is mine. Let your holy angel watch over me, that the wicked foe have no power over me. Amen.