Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Almost one full week into my 39th year of life (I turned 38 on March 20th), and I don’t feel any older than I did a few months ago. Over the past week, people have asked me what I did for my birthday. It wasn’t anything exciting. Between the many phone calls, text messages, etc., I managed to write last week’s devotion. But that was about all the work I was able to accomplish on that day. I treated myself to lunch, some grocery shopping, and a day of much needed R&R. A couple days prior, I enjoyed some time celebrating with my family.
Birthdays are typically a time of celebration, and this year—though a bit subdued—was no different. They are a time of wishes from friends, family, and acquaintances—I received about 151 birthday well-wishes on Facebook alone…truly blessed!
I share that number not to brag (I’m sure others can far surpass me), but to make a contrast. I have another birthday that I have been attempting to place more emphasis on celebrating/remembering in recent years. It certainly does not garner nearly the attention on Facebook. Indeed, Facebook does not have a place where I can insert this birthday so that it shows up on people’s notifications. And if I would not say anything, few, if any, people would even know about it. And yet, in the eternal scheme of things, it is a birthday, or RE-birthday, that is far more significant to me than March 20th. It is what my parents brought me to church to have God do to me and for me on May 4th of 1980—the washing of rebirth and renewal in my infant baptism (Tit. 3:5). Through those waters, connected with the Word of God (cf. Eph. 5:25-26), God simultaneously washed away my sins, brought me to spiritual life and faith in Jesus, adopted me into his spiritual family, saved me, and made me an heir of eternal life (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:3-4; Col. 2:11-12; Tit. 3:5-7; I Pet. 3:21). Through baptism, all of the blessings that Jesus accomplished on the cross and at the empty tomb were given to me. Baptism doesn’t merely symbolize these blessings; Scripture plainly says that baptism actually gives these blessings. And there is no age restriction.
So why do I choose to remember my baptism on Holy Week and not wait until May 4th? Why is it a good week for all Christians to remember their baptisms? As Paul says in our reading: “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Did you hear it? Paul is talking about a real connection that has taken place in our baptisms. In baptism, we are connected with Christ. We are connected with him in his death. We also are connected with him in his resurrection. The point is: We haven’t just been given a new lease on life; we have a new life right now. What’s more, just as Christ actually rose from the dead, so one day we too, through faith in him, will actually rise from the dead to be with him in heaven.
It is for this reason why the Church, since ancient times, has often baptized new converts on Easter and why Christians are encouraged to make a remembrance of their baptisms as they celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. So when you enter into church this Holy Week and your eyes happen to catch the baptismal font, remember the new life God gave you in those waters. Remember how he connected you to Christ. Remember his victory over the grave.
A blessed Easter celebration to you!