All baptisms are miracles. And this is precisely why baptisms are dangerous. Some recognize the danger and opt to tame the word of God, mute the Scriptures, and they say that baptism is the word of man. This is what it means to say that baptism is a public testimony, a profession of faith, telling everyone that you love Jesus. Now don’t get me wrong, baptism is at least that. But that’s not the most dangerous part. The most dangerous part is believing that God speaks in baptism, that God’s word is being proclaimed, that God is making a profession, a promise, a claim about us, about our lives, our stories, our families, our world.
The word of man is flimsy, our words are too light, too brittle, and really too small. But God speaks and the universe crashes into being, the worlds explode into existence. God speaks and light shatters the night.
And the wonderfully dangerous glory of baptism is that God put His words in our mouths. Jesus when he had been given all authority and power in heaven and on earth sent out the first evangelists to proclaim that God was remaking the world and to proclaim God’s Word, God’s authoritative word, and to enact that word by baptizing all who were willing to submit to this Kingdom.
Jared and Janine, we don’t hold the Word of God, the Word of God holds us. Some people get the idea that because God speaks and we get to do this little ceremony that somehow we get to be in charge, that somehow we can manipulate God, and they try to turn this gift into a little dashboard of levers and pulleys where we push buttons and since we got some holy water on us we’re set to coast into heaven.
But that’s not grace, that’s not living faith in Jesus. And you’ve learned something about faith over the last number of months, I think. You’ve seen God’s grace alive and working powerfully in your circumstances. And that’s why it’s so wonderful to finally see you here, to see you as a family, to see you bringing your daughter to Jesus.
Remember this moment, remember the Word of God is what matters, the word of Christ is what stands forever. Hear His word, Hear Him, and hold fast to Him. He will hold you up when you are tired. He will hold you up when it hurts. He will hold you up when you don’t think you can go on any further. He will hold you up when you need to confess sins, when you need to forgive sins, when you need to obey.
Bella means beautiful, and the fact that God speaks into our world, interrupts our plans, interrupts our darkness, interrupts our sin with His grace and mercy, that’s beautiful, that’s wonderful. Teach your daughter about this beauty. Tell your daughter the story of how God interrupted your stories to tell something far more beautiful than you could have imagined. Teach her that she can’t hold her own life, she can’t hold her story together, but that she has been claimed by the One who does.