“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
This is what is commonly called “the Great commission”. But what was Jesus really telling the disciple here? What was He expecting of the Disciples?
How do we baptize the Nations?
Evangelically speaking, this means going into all the world and winning souls and baptizing them into Christ through the trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. But what does this really mean? Is this really water baptism like that of John? Was the Lord commissioning us to do the same? Is there something deeper than that?
Let us quickly examine some scriptures and the statements of Jesus; for instance John 3:3, He said to Nicodemus;
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”
Then in verses 5, 6, He now added in response to the question of Nicodemus;
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”.
“That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”.
First of all understand what Jesus meant. If you take a closer look at the verse 6, there are two spirits mentioned.
One is in capital letter ‘S’, the other is small letter ‘s’. So what was Jesus saying? He meant to say the aspect of you that must be born again is your human spirit, which is referred to as the candle of the Lord. (Proverbs 20:27). In other words, the Holy Spirit (Capital S) lightens your human spirit ( small s).
This is what is meant by being born again. Now all mankind has the human spirit, but only those who have received Jesus Christ have the light in their human spirit. This is the difference between the believer and the unbeliever in the street.
Now there are some things we need to observe here for us to have the mind of Christ as to the statement He is here making to Nicodemus. And do not forget that He was not talking to a mere man, but a religious ‘guru’ if you will.
Someone who knows the law, as a matter of fact, he was a teacher of the law to Israel. So this man knows something, He was not just talking to a ‘sinner’ in our language or belief system.
So how come this man must be born again? Repent or born again from what to what?
He started by saying, “Except a man be born of WATER and of the Spirit”
What water was the Lord referring to here then? Is He talking of H2O? Was He telling him to go to the River and be baptized? Nicodemus should have known better than that by now as baptism was a common practice, and no doubt he must have gone through this ritual before coming up to this level in Israel.
I think Paul and Apostle Peter rightly define the water for us in their epistles;
Paul writing allegorically on the subject of the Husband and Wife as it relates to Christ and His Church says;
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the WASHING OF WATER BY THE WORD. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”. Ephesians 5:25-27
Again he says;
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind… And such were some of you: but ye are WASHED, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD…” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
But what could wash and sanctify the sinner? Peter gave us the answer;
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, BY THE WORD OF GOD, which liveth and abideth forever” 1 Peter 1:22-23
Furthermore Jesus said;
“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth”. “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you” .John 17:17; 15:3.
So evidently then, what cleanses us is not H2O, from any River but the word of God.
“It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” John 6:63.
To be continued…