Verse 19b – “Baptizing” This is a public declaration of commitment to follow Christ. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward act. Our old self is buried with Christ and the new self is raised with Christ. John the Baptist called for repentance when he baptized in the wilderness. Repentance was a change of mind and action toward God. By authorizing the church to baptize, Jesus makes the sacrament of baptism something to be done within the community of believers.
Matthew writes that we “baptize them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” Baptism gives believers the chance to make a public declaration of their relationship with God. The Trinitarian formula used (i.e., Father, Son, Spirit) shows the depth of our relationship with God. Believing in the Father’s Son leads to acceptance of His Spirit. This allows us to participate in an intimate relationship with the three Persons of the Godhead. This relationship starts and begins with belief in Jesus Christ as God’s Son. Jesus said if we know Him we know the One who sent Him (John 8:19). Like human relationships, our relationship with God requires constant communication from both parties. Primarily we hear God through His Word and He hears us through prayer. Another principle for discipleship emerges here.
- Discipleship involves a growing relationship with Jesus.