Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. Acts 8:35-38
It took me a while to decide to get baptized after becoming a true believer.
I wasn’t convinced, because I had been wounded in the past. And when I started thinking about it again, the feelings of rejection that I felt because a pastor had told me he wouldn’t baptize me when I had asked to be, reared their ugly head and I got scared.
The church that I was attending at the time held baptisms in the summer when the pools were opened. Everyone gathered as a family in Christ and we had a big picnic. Before the merriment ended, we gathered around the pool and celebrated with those people who had decided to show their commitment to Christ through the symbol of baptism.
Before the scheduled day, I approached one of the pastors and we talked. I realized that this time it really was my choice, because it was my walk with God. I was re-introduced to the New Testament passages that discuss and demonstrate baptism; and the story of Philip and the Ethiopian really stood out to me.
Simplicity of faith, no nerves, no fear.
There is water, so let’s do this, right here, right now.
The passage gave me courage to ask the question myself – is there any reason I shouldn’t be baptized?
I decided there wasn’t any reason not to. I believed with my heart and confessed with my mouth. I wanted to show the world my choice to follow God.
My baptism experience was unique, not in the action itself, but in the participants. My church believed that it was important to involve the person who helped me begin walking my journey with the Lord. And so, just a few months before he died, my brother, who was integral in me finding out who Jesus really is, baptized me, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
In India, baptisms happen, but are rare. It is the active confession of a person’s faith in Christ, and their complete renunciation of the Hindu gods. Many Christians who seek to be baptized will be punished by their non-believing family members. Recently, a new believer in our church was threatened with rejection and homelessness by her brother, for planning to be baptized. Unfortunately, she was bullied into changing her mind, and did not follow through with her plan.
I feel blessed to be in a country where the freedom of religion is still comparatively protected. I feel blessed to be in a place where I could ask the question – is there anything stopping me from being baptized – and answer no. I feel blessed to have had the support of family and friend in my decision. The day I was baptized, though the heavens didn’t open up, and a dove appear above me, I did hear God say, this is my daughter, and I am pleased with her.
Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.