Death and Resurrection


Matthew 3:13–16 (NIV)

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.


The baptism of John is referred to in Acts 19 as a baptism of repentance, and that’s how we normally think of baptism, as a public turning away from selfish living. But if baptism were only a matter of repentance, then there would have been no need for Jesus to be baptized, seeing as how he had no selfish past to renounce. Although baptism does normally imply repentance, I believe there is a deeper meaning to this ancient ritual. Baptism is first and foremost a ritual of submission and surrender. To put it plainly, letting another human being hold you underwater is a profound expression of trust! When a person walks down into the waters of baptism, they are saying for the whole world to hear, “I surrender. I submit my will to the will of the one who upholds everything that he created. I will seek the good of the whole picture above my own self-interest, and I will sacrifice that which is temporal for the sake of that which is eternal.” Taking a deep breath and yielding to the hands of another, trusting that you will reemerge from the water, is a potent symbol of the self-sacrifice that always leads to resurrection. For Jesus, it was also a foreshadowing of what was to take place in his ministry.

The death and rebirth that are symbolized by baptism can be seen throughout the life of Christ. From his first miracle to the washing of his disciples’ feet, to the ultimate miracle of Easter, it’s one example after another of Jesus letting himself be taken under in total trust that he would be brought back up. All he did was die. All he did was rise again. In doing so, he sanctified the role of the servant for all time. He did a lot more than just that though. Jesus physically embodied the one truth that is currently holding the universe together; the truth that all life comes through death and that all beauty comes through sacrifice. Jesus wasn’t afraid to go under. He knew it was the only path to resurrection.


Giver of life, equip us with the courage to surrender. Help us to trust that your hands will bring us back up at the proper time.


What act of service are you afraid might take you under for good? Remember that redemption often follows a downward path, but that it always leads to life. What emotion or memory are you afraid might take you under for good? Sometimes the path of life can lead through painful valleys. It’s always worth it.

For the Awakening,
Josh LeRoy

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WHAT IS THIS? Wake-Up Call is a daily encouragement to shake off the slumber of our busy lives and turn our eyes toward Jesus. Each morning our community gathers around a Scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a few short questions, inviting us to reorient our lives around the love of Jesus that transforms our hearts, homes, churches, and cities.

Comments and Discussion

4 Responses

  1. While I do agree that this post does a good job of describing the motivations involved for “believer baptism “, it fails to give proper attention to the fact that God himself is the primary actor in the sacrament of Holy Baptism. Many of us were baptized as infants, therefore the motivations listed here would not apply to us. For me personally, baptism is the ultimate display of God’s grace towards us unworthy sinners. We are immersed into Jesus’s death and resurrection, therefore we are washed clean of all our sins and are grafted into the Living Vine. Because God is the primary actor in baptism, it matters not whether we can remember when the actual rite took place, but rather that it did, and therefore the blessings that came with it.

    1. This is the issue isn’t it? After years of listening to the rationale for subjecting infants to a water ritual and much research into the history of the practice I have come to the conclusion that the ritual is simply a declaration of parents wanting to see their child raised in the Christian faith and the little one got wet in the process. It isn’t baptism at all. No one give saving faith to someone else. There is no faith expressed by the infant, no repentance by the infant, and no declaration of intent to be part of Christ’s church by the infant.

  2. Though baptism is an outward sign of a divine inward change, baptism in itself doesn’t save or change a person. Jesus does the saving and changing.
    I was baptized at 12 years old. I changed and became a “new creation” at 54 years old when I met Jesus in my garage. I was tired and wrecked from a zombie existence from experiencing drugs and alcoholism. I broke down, and Jesus lifted me up. I had finally met the Father I never had!
    Though many believe that once baptized, always baptized, I felt an inner want to be rebaptized, or what may be referred to as a rededication.
    Is baptisum important? You bet!… Jesus was baptized.
    I wonder, though, should someone be baptized after confession, repenting sin, and confessing Jesus as Lord?

    Acts 2:38
    And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    After all, isn’t baptism a public testimony of Christ in a life?
    Testimonies aren’t testimonies until after Christ is in life.

    Ephesians 4:5
    One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

    Staying 💪’n Christ
    Ephesians 6:10
    Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.

  3. A man named John, independently of the religious establishment of his day, began to preach in isolated places (without official credentials) and to challenge people to fully surrender their life to the Lord. As a sign of their surrender John would dip people in water. The Greek word “baptizo” is used to describe that dipping. It’s interesting that Jesus didn’t go to get the approval of the leaders of any religious organization before beginning His ministry. Instead, “Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized (dipped) by John,” and the Spirit of God descended on Him like a dove. Perhaps it’s time for Christ-followers to shift from following religious organizations to being led by the Spirit. See Romans 8:14.

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