Baptism is a beautiful thing.
It’s beautiful because of what it signifies, the picture it paints, the story it tells.
Every time a believer is baptized, the gospel of Jesus is preached.
On a Friday, Jesus hung on a cross outside of Jerusalem for six hours and finally, when his work was done, sacrificed himself. Soldiers took his body and buried it in a nearby tomb.
The religious leaders rejoiced.
The Romans forgot.
The disciples grieved.
And early Sunday morning Jesus came to life again.
A few days later he met his followers on a nearby hill and told them to share this story with the world. Tell them this simple message, he said: “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).
Baptism is a reenactment of Jesus’ Friday-through-Sunday experience.
When someone believes in Jesus, she commits herself to him, turning her back on the person she used to be and embracing a life of discipleship—what the Bible calls repentance, or death.
Her body will be lowered into a tomb, but not one of dirt and rocks. Instead, she’s immersed in a grave of water.
Just as Jesus came alive early that Sunday, new life enters her spiritual body and she’s raised from the water as a new person.
All of her sins—every mistake, every disappointment, every failure—are removed forever.
Washed away, not by the water but by the blood.
As she comes out of her grave she’s alive like she’s never been before.
Forgiven, justified, sanctified.
She hasn’t earned it, because baptism could never be a work of merit.
She doesn’t deserve it, because baptism doesn’t make her any worthier.
But there, in the water, Jesus cleans her.
His righteousness, his life, his merit, become hers.
She is, as the ancient ending to Mark puts it, “saved.”
And because of that, she knows she’ll take part in another resurrection.
When Jesus returns he’ll raise her body once again, this time from the earth, and this time never to die again.
There’s nothing more beautiful than that.