God Is All In: Reflections on Baptism

Today’s post is part of a series to help us take what we learn on Sunday into the rest of the week. These posts summarize the main points from the week’s sermon and include questions for continued reflection and prayer. The posts in this series are written by members of our church’s Adult Christian Formation team.


This past Sunday, our service theme was “God is Committed.” Pastor Bobby preached about what it means to follow Christ in baptism from Matthew 3:1-17. The basic message of his sermon was that God has completely committed himself to humanity; He has gone all in to rescue us.

Throughout the Old Testament, water is used as a symbol of judgement. In the accounts of Noah and the flood or the Egyptians overwhelmed at the Red Sea, water is a powerful symbol of God’s authority and judgment. Matthew 3 recounts how John the Baptist preaches a baptism of repentance, calling people to prepare themselves for the judgment of God. When Jesus seeks to be baptized we are puzzled. He does not need to be prepared for repentance as he is already wholly righteous. Why would Jesus desire to be baptized? In Jesus we see that God is fully committed to humanity. How does Jesus’ baptism reflect this commitment to the world?

  1. In baptism, Jesus shows that he comes not to judge, but to be the object of judgment. By going into the water, he foreshadows the death he will face on the cross.
  2. In baptism, Jesus shows that God is radically committed to humanity. He will go all in to rescue people.
  3. In baptism, Jesus experiences the love and joy of God the Father through the Holy Spirit as he submits to judgment which he will bear for us. He undergoes suffering that we too might experience God’s full love and joy.

God has gone all in for us and shown his radical commitment to us. What else could he do, how much farther could he go to show his love? In Jesus, he has given his all and shown how radically he will pursue us. In light of this, we should respond with an “all in” pursuit of God and his kingdom.

Questions for reflection

How did the Holy Spirit speak to you through this Scripture passage and sermon?

How does the knowledge of God’s radical commitment affect you? Are you encouraged, humbled, grateful, fearful, etc…?

What is one area you think God is calling you to be “all in” for him (work, home, finances, trust, etc…)?

How does God’s pursuit of sinners affect the way we relate to those with whom we disagree? What implications does Jesus’ suffering on our behalf have for how we treat that hard-to-love coworker or neighbor?