Thursday, February 20th, 2014
What does the word ‘baptism’ mean in the Bible? Baptism in Greek means to immerse, to cleanse by submerging or to wash oneself with water. It also means to pass over or to transfer. By receiving the baptism from John the Baptist all the sins were passed onto Jesus. Jesus became the Saviour to the faithful by taking on the sins of the entire world, dying on our behalf for the wages of sin and resurrecting from the dead.
The rite of baptism is performed in the form of immersion and by the laying on of hands. If we look at length at the meaning of the baptism Jesus had received, there are 4 meanings namely, to cleanse, to pass over, to transfer and to be buried.
People of the OT, in order to receive the remission of sins, brought sacrificial animals like goats, sheep and cattle without blemish. They placed their hands on the head of the animals to pass on their sins and having received the sins, the animal had to atone by dying. This foreshadows the baptism Jesus had received at the River Jordan.
In the OT, the High Priest, Aaron represented the entire people of Israel. He transferred the sins by means of laying hands on the animal, drew its blood from the throat and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering. He offered the sin offering on the Day of Atonement before God on behalf of the people.
In the NT, John the Baptist became the representative of all mankind. He transferred the sins of mankind onto Jesus at His baptism. He shed His blood, died and resurrected in order to atone for the sins of mankind. He now saves those who believe in the Gospel of the water and Spirit which constitutes His baptism, death and resurrection.