Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John…he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. Matt 3:13-15 (NLT)
The above picture was taken where the Jordan River flows out of the Sea of Galilee and is commonly known as Yardenit Baptismal Site. It is said to be where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Today, this is where many people, who come to the Holy Land, choose to get baptized in water. One can see the various steps leading down to the water. It is also a beautiful place to pray.
Many people came to hear John the Baptist preach. They confessed their sins and were baptized in water and this sacrament continued throughout New Testament times. However, things changed. Apparently, for a long time the church practiced infant baptism. It wasn’t until the 1500s when the Anabaptist Movement began having adult baptism that the example Christ left for us started to be practiced again. The Anabaptists went through horrific persecution from both the Catholic and Protestant denominations for their beliefs. Many were burned at the stake, others languished in prison for many years, and some fled to other countries such as Russia and North America.
I have always been thrilled to attend our baptismal services. It is an awesome privilege to hear the testimonies of those who profess their faith in our Savior and follow him in water baptism. I have witnessed people of all ages and walks of life taking this important step. Some may have been baptized as infants, some may have been brought up in Christian homes, but drifted far from the Lord, and some are brand new Christians. Regardless, each person’s testimony warms our hearts and we are grateful to rejoice with them.