“You need to be baptized,” the preacher said.
Janice wasn’t so sure. What was the big deal about being dunked in water? If she took a shower in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, she might come out just as clean. And then she could use soap.
Supposedly, baptism was an outward sign of an inward work, but that said the work was already done. It would be like getting married and having the wedding ceremony a few months later. Nothing wrong with that. But how important was it, really?
In Matthew, Chapter 3, Janice read about John, the guy who was famous for dunkings. Perhaps while standing in the water, he shifted focus from what he was doing to what was to come. Basically, he was saying, “The day is coming when one will come after me, who is more powerful than I am, who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Obviously, he was talking about Jesus bringing a different kind of baptism, not the same as what John was doing.
What was baptism like after Jesus’ resurrection? In Acts, Chapter 2, Janice read about tongues of fire coming upon people in the Temple. Bathed in the power of the Holy Spirit, they spoke in languages unknown to them, but Jewish travelers understood the speech that was native to faraway lands. Was this the new kind of baptism that John had predicted?
The amazed Jews weren’t seeing a need to be saved. They were already God’s children. They wanted to know how they too could experience this miracle. In response, Peter said, “Repent, be baptized, and you’ll receive this gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Janice thought the formula was simple enough. But would this really happen if she followed it?