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Commands of Christ

Baptize My Disciples

Where is this command found?

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”

Matthew 28:19

Applying This Command

Baptism is a means of identification with the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who are baptized into Christ stand in the place of those who have fallen as martyrs in the cause of Christ.

The baptism into Christ’s death is a public declaration of faith in Christ. It is following the Lord in death to self. It is also following those who are willing to die for their faith and to be persecuted unto death. (See I Corinthians 15:29.) Each person who is baptized should realize that when he goes under the water, his own life comes to an end. When they come up from the water, they are now to consider themselves dead to self and alive to God. They are to live one day at a time and give God an account of how they used each day for the Lord and His kingdom.

Jesus revealed Himself as the sinless Son of God by fulfilling all the prophecies concerning Himself. He also revealed Himself as the perfect Son of Man by fulfilling all the righteousness of the Law. When Jesus was baptized, God gave the heavenly witness that Jesus truly was the Son of God. “It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased” (Luke 3:21–22). This great commencement of the ministry of Jesus gave promise to the victory that overcame the world — even our faith.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Matthew 28:19, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Baptize My Disciples.

Acts 2:38

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Acts 8:36–37

“And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Ephesians 4:4–6

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Mark 16:15–16

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

I Peter 3:21

“The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

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Study Question

Q: Why did Jesus send out His disciples to teach and baptize, but sent Paul out “not to baptize, but to preach the gospel”? (See Matthew 28:19 and I Corinthians 1:17.)

A: Paul baptized very few believers, and Jesus did not baptize any; however, their disciples baptized other believers. (See John 4:1–2.) When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he reproved them for their carnal divisions:

“Every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name. … For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel …” (I Corinthians 1:12–17).

Paul later reminded the Corinthian church that they had all been baptized by one Spirit into Christ’s body and warned them to guard against schisms that would divide and distract them. (See I Corinthians 12:13, 25.) He recognized the danger of Christian leaders attracting loyalty to themselves or to their group by adding their own requirements or methods to the simple command of Jesus to believe and be baptized.

Therefore, Paul’s focus throughout his entire ministry was simply to preach the Gospel and make disciples wherever he went, according to Christ’s command: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you …” (Matthew 28:19–20).

For Further Study

You can learn more about the command Baptize My Disciples in the book Commands of Christ: Series 7.

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