Part 1 of all of time and life has ended. Part 2 now begins. Christ has risen. He has risen indeed. This is an interesting rendition of this his-story. It is short and sweet. It hits the highlights of the main story. It tells of the reactions of the guards and the religious leaders, and it tells of the directions given to the disciples.
It’s at these directions that i want to dwell. I learned something a long time ago. It is something that has changed my outlook on this great commission. It’s may not be super deep and life redefining, but it is an interesting revelation none-the-less.
First off, I love how Christ starts this. It is classic YHWH. “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (You) Go therefore…” It’s just like when God spoke to Moses, “I am going to free My people Israel… now you go and tell Pharaoh to let My people go!” YHWH says He is going to do it, then He tells us to. It’s great!
My big note relates to vs 19-20. Jesus tells the disciples to go and make disciples… baptizing in the name of the Father and of the the Son, and of the Holy Spirit… Yet, when you look at the scriptures talking about the disciples baptizing in Acts, these are the statements you get (2:38) Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (8:14-16) Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Nowhere else does it give an account of what is said during the baptism.
What you notice here is that there is nowhere in these or any other accounts in which it is said that they baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In the accounts of water baptism the people are baptized in the name of Jesus, the Christ. Yet when we baptize, WE say, “…in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Why? Because in the book of Matthew, Christ tells us to. But, isn’t that what He told the disciples as well? Is there something we’re missing here or was it something the disciples were neglecting?
The more I’ve studied this, the more I’m convinced that we’re missing something here. For instance, no where in the great commission does it say anything about coming to God in repentance, or even to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not there. But when you do look at what the disciples did, there was more to the story than just water baptism. Acts 2:38 says, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’” There are three parts to this. 1) Repent 2) Water baptism in the name of Jesus, and 3) Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. So how are these connected to being baptized in the name of…
In order to understand that, you have to understand what baptism is. Baptism is in essence the representation of a death, a burial, and a resurrection (what Christ did for us). In water baptism you “die” are “buried” in the water (hence not sprinkled), and are “resurrected again into new life. When we are water baptized it is a physical representation of what, that we have already done? It is a physical representation of our repentance… 1) death of self 2) burial in God / YHWH’s grace, and 3) resurrection as a new man. Thus repentance is a baptism. Water baptism is an outward baptism expressing what we have already done in our heart, and baptism in the Holy Spirit is a baptism of the Holy Spirit’s power. Thus it is baptism in the name (name represents power) of the Father (repentance) and of the Son (water baptism), and the Holy Spirit (the HS’s empowerment for the building up of the saints for the work of service).
So what does this mean for us?
Rev. John J. Camiolo Jr.