Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Should fear be the motivation in leading someone (a child, for example) to be baptized? Whether the right answer is yes or no, let's not forget what Jesus said about letting the little children come to Him and don't hinder them; don't stop them (Matt. 19:14). Even if a child demonstrates a lack of mature sanctification, let's think of those arms of Jesus opened wide to welcome him or her. And if we have mistakenly "hindered" one, let Jesus give us the gift of repentance.
The story of one famous baptism inspires us. The Ethiopian eunuch riding in his chariot "down from Jerusalem to Gaza" was reading the Bible while jolting along. What had caught his attention was Isaiah 53, about the "Suffering Servant," wondering what the heart-arresting story meant. "Then the Spirit of the Lord said to Philip, 'Go near and overtake this chariot.'" Philip's response is inspiring: "Philip ran to him." Oh that the Lord may give us grace to be so instantly responsive! (See Acts 8:26-38.)
He began his soul-winning ministry by asking a question, usually a good way to break the ice: "Do you understand what you are reading?" The man needed a human being to illuminate his reading of the text! "How can I, unless someone guides me?" Thank the Lord, he welcomed Philip who eventually told him, "If you believe with all your heart, you may" be baptized.
What is required for baptism? That "believing with all the heart." What it means to "believe" is therefore important. In the Ethiopian's case, it was a heart appreciation of Isaiah 53. Excellent! Read the chapter, verse-by-verse, with a voice subdued by humility, letting the Spirit melt the heart. Let the children come to Jesus.
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: November 15, 2002.
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