Baptize, then…

“Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened” (Luke 3:21)

Contrary to the focus of most modern missionary movements, baptism is not the goal of the gospel ministry. The Apostle even declares;

“For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel:” (1st Corinthians 1:17)

This does not mean that Paul never baptized anyone. It means that the focus of his ministry was not to get as many people baptized as he could. This is because the focus of the ministry should not be on trying to populate heaven (which is impossible for men) but to make disciples. And baptism is the first step of discipleship.

Luke is the only one that records the fact that Jesus began to pray as soon as He was baptized. It is a detail that could easily be overlooked in comparing the gospel accounts. However, I think Luke’s inclusion of the fact that Jesus prayed immediately is significant. It shows us that baptism is the beginning of our Christian walk not the goal of gospel preaching.

Jesus shows us not only the proper mode and manner of baptism, He shows us that the event should be the inauguration of many other righteous acts in our lives, prayer being one of those acts.

After baptism, we are to immediately seek to further please the Lord in our walk and conversation. Jesus has shown us that baptism is a righteous thing to do. Therefore, we should do it. He has also shown us what we should be doing throughout the rest of our Christian life. We should start discipleship with prayer, and pray without ceasing!

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