Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. – Acts 9:1
Perhaps the least likely person to become a disciple of Jesus Christ was Saul of Tarsus. His urgent and relentless persecution of Christians was well known throughout the churches of the day. But through an encounter with Christ, Saul’s world was shaken. Blinded by a bright light, he had some time to begin to realize the power of the resurrected Lord. God told a man named Ananias to go and teach him the gospel. Although Ananias was fearful of Saul, he did go to him.
Acts 9:17-19 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Just as the other examples we saw in the book of Acts, when he had faith in Christ he decided to follow Him and was baptized. God changed Saul’s name to Paul. Later, Paul would recount this event in his life and give us more details about what Ananias said to him:
Acts 22:14-16 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
Baptism is often associated with the removal or washing away of sins. As Paul became an enthusiastic missionary for God, his message never changed. He proclaimed that we all have sinned, that we cannot save ourselves. He emphasized that because of God’s grace and the love of Christ, we have opportunity to turn to Jesus. Faith leads us to being baptized, being a part of the church, and becoming a light to the world around us. Here are some other verse where Paul writes about the importance of baptism…
Romans 6:4 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.
Galatians 3:26-28 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 4:5 …one Lord, one faith, one baptism….
Colossians 2:12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
It is very clear to me that Paul placed a very high priority on the subject of baptism. If you’re reading this series and you haven’t been baptized, I encourage you to think about how important it is to obey Christ in this way. In fact, I’d like to encourage you to be honest with yourself about why you would reject being baptized…or put it off for another day.
Would someone who has faith in Jesus as the risen Lord and Savior refuse to be baptized…or even delay being baptized?
Next we will look at some of the individuals in the New Testament who accepted the message of the gospel and were immersed into Christ!
Thanks for reading, John
Note: This series begins HERE.