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  • Allison Wilcox

Baptism

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God. ~ Acts 16:25-34



For his trouble in freeing the slave girl from her spirit of divination, Paul, along with Silas, got a little jail time. And as Peter before him, also was miraculously freed.

Unlike Peter, Paul and Silas, despite being freed, stay put and as a result, faith is stirred in the jailer and his entire family is baptized.

His entire family.

You catch that?

Baptism is something that the New Testament has lots to say about.

Only, one of the things we don't really get about baptism is a lot of the dogma we have attached to it over the years. What we know from Acts and from the epistles is that it is an act of faith and it is an act of God.

We aren't told it is exclusive for adults.

We aren't told it either is or is not for children and infants.

We can infer here that children are welcome (especially if we consider Jesus own words in Matthew about letting the children come to him).

In short, we can, and have, inferred a lot about it over the past 2000 years.

But what we see here is a powerful example of what baptism IS, rather than the rules about it. It is an event that saves and it is an event that is cause for joy.

It is about belief yes, but here we see that the belief of the jailer causes his entire household to be brought into the faith.

So in essence, what we learn mostly about baptism in the New Testament is God's faithfulness and God's openness and inclusion in bringing us into the kin-dom of God.

Lord, thank you for your faithfulness and the gift of baptism which brings us into your family. Amen.

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