Coffee Break: I love baptisms!

Pete BardwellCoffee Break

Pete Bardwell holding a coffee mug

I love Baptisms! Full immersion – lots of water – waves even! I just love baptisms!

I’ve been baptised, baptised others, seen many friends and family baptised through the years. It is always a joy both to witness the baptism but also to hear a little of the story which has led the believer to their moment.

Water baptism is an outward demonstration of an internal revelation of one’s salvation in Jesus. It is an outloud, resounding public ‘YES’ from those being baptised in response to the Fathers love and invitation to us all (John 3:16–17) (Mark 16:16).

Pete Bardwell being baptism, aged 13

Me aged 13, with my dad on my left -your right as you look at the picture)

And just as the baptism of each individual follower of Jesus is unique and personal to them, there is a single event that all of our baptisms remind us of, point to and even connect us in to by faith; Jesus baptism. Ephesians 4:4–6 tells us that “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:4–6. (See also  Col 2:12)

SO one baptism!!!!! Wow! This is part of the mystery of the gospel as Paul says… We have been mysteriously connected with Jesus (Col 2:12) in his baptism which on the one hand is a picture of his death and resurrection, but it also draws us to the detail of his own baptism.

Five years ago I had the privilege of meeting up with the Harverson family in the Middle East for a trip supporting mission work in that region. We were blessed while in Jordan to visit the River Jordan and the believed site of Jesus’ baptism. (I say believed because the Israelis have a site slightly up river they believe was the site–the river forms the border between Israel and Jordan in that region). Regardless, it was thrilling to be there and imagine the event described in the gospels.

“When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” Luke 3:21–22 NIV

What I hadn’t realised until the visit was the geographical significance of the ‘where’ Jesus was baptised. A couple of miles down river the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea:The lowest point on planet earth! The love of the Father was to send Jesus for everyone on Earth—and just to make sure we know Abba Father meant everyone, He sent Jesus to the lowest place on earth to literally ‘scoop’ humanity up! To make it possible to go from the lowest place on earth to the throne room of heaven!!!!!!

Any one day’s news cycle reminds us of examples of just how low people can go in their thoughts, behaviour and treatment of one another. And sometimes we are capable of going to some pretty low places too—perhaps more in our thinking; our view of ourselves or our lot in life. Even recently, I’ve found my mind wandering… lower… Then I sense the Holy Spirit whispering to me to ‘snap out of it!’ And I’m taken back to that moment five years ago -standing with my jeans rolled up and my feet in the waters of the River Jordan, and then my own baptism almost 30 years ago, to Jesus baptism 2000 years ago—where he is and where I mysteriously am…

Pete Bardwell standing in the River Jordan

Standing in the River Jordan

“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

This is my baseline. My foundation. His words, not mine. His thoughts of me, not my thoughts of me. Because of Jesus, these words are for us. We can hear them be spoken over us, not because of what we’ve done but because he is our Dad. Our Father who loves and delights in us.

I can begin to believe again…

I am his child

He loves me

He really likes me.

The truth sinks in… I’m scooped up!