“Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).
Here, it is written about a eunuch who had come to Jerusalem from Ethiopia for worshipping. What is the secret behind the happiness of that eunuch? Yes, it is the happiness that came because of Baptism. A joy which he did not receive either by visiting Jerusalem or by worshipping there reached him through Baptism.
John the Baptist baptised with the only reason of atonement of sins. The people who confessed their sins got away from their awkward sinful life and began to lead a new life in God.
But, when Jesus Christ came to get baptised, He explained another reason for the joy of Baptism. According to Him, the purpose of Baptism is not only the atonement of sins but also to fulfil the righteousness of God. What a great joy it is for the heavens to open when Jesus baptised! What a greater joy it is for the Father to say, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased!’ Is it not a glorious joy for the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him?
The joy of Baptism gained more prominence after Jesus Christ’s suffering and His death on the Cross. One who gets baptised unites himself with the suffering, death and burial of Jesus Christ. While standing in the water, before getting baptised, he recollects how Jesus Christ sacrificed His life for his sake, unites himself with Christ and happily proclaims, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). What a joy this is!
Getting immersed in water is the sign of the death of Jesus Christ. The Scripture says, “For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection” (Romans 6:5). Not only that. You get united with the power of Christ’s Resurrection during baptism. When you come out of immersion, you take the vow saying, ‘Jesus resurrected from the dead. I will also lead a victorious life with His power of resurrection’. Your joy becomes holistic. Those who receive Baptism experience a great joy which is similar to the one which the children of Israel experienced while crossing the Red Sea.
To meditate: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).