Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
— Matthew 28:19

One year our Moscow pastoral staff had a debate over whether or not it was right or wrong to dye Easter eggs for the annual Easter celebration. In the Russian Orthodox Church, Easter eggs are a very big part of tradition. Therefore, I wanted to include Easter eggs in our church celebration in order to help those from an Orthodox background feel more comfortable in their new Protestant surroundings. My goal was for our children’s ministry to dip, dye, and decorate several thousand eggs — one for each member of the congregation — and then to publicly present them on stage to the church before giving one to every person in attendance.

Because the children would be presenting the eggs on stage, I knew this special presentation would attract their unsaved parents to the service, allowing the parents to hear the Gospel for the first time. Some of the pastoral staff thought this was a great idea, but others thought it was inappropriate to use a symbol that also had alleged ties to paganism from the past.

*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]

bookmark2At the same time we were debating this question, I was preparing to preach a message about water baptism. To prepare for my message, I pulled out my Greek New Testament, opened it to Matthew 28:19, and began to look at the Greek word for “baptism.” I honestly thought, What new revelation could I possibly learn about the word “baptism” after studying it for so many years? But I’ll open all my books and give it a shot to see if there’s anything about this word I’ve never seen before.

Wow! Was I ever shocked at what I discovered that day! After all those years of studying, I saw something I had never seen before about baptidzo, the Greek word for “baptism.” I saw that this word baptidzo originally meant to dip and to dye. For instance, in very early cases, baptidzo described the process of dipping a cloth or garment into a vat of color to dye it; leaving it there long enough for the material to soak up the new color; and then pulling that garment out of the dye with a permanently changed outward appearance. When I saw this, I just about leaped out of my chair with excitement!

In Second Corinthians 5:17, Paul wrote, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” A person who comes to Jesus Christ can be likened to an old garment that needs to be dipped into a vat of dye so its color can be changed. However, the person isn’t dipped into a vat of colored dye, but into the precious blood of the Lamb! This person is so totally transformed by Jesus’ blood that he becomes a new creature. His countenance is so changed that he even looks different. You could say that this new believer has been “dipped and dyed”!

What a new light this shed on baptism! Paul wrote, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Water baptism is a symbolic proclamation of the fact that believers have been buried with Christ and raised with Him. When a believer is placed in the baptismal waters, it symbolizes being immersed in one condition and coming out looking brand new. In other words, it is a picture of what happened to that person when he got saved! This outward symbol represents the fact that he has been dipped in the blood of the Lamb, and now his entire life has been newly colored and transformed to be like Jesus!

When I saw this meaning in the word baptidzo, I told my pastoral staff, “This year we’re going to let the children dye Easter eggs. Then we’re going to use this as a teaching tool to show them what happens when a person is born again!” I instructed the teachers to tell the children that each egg represented a person who has been saved and dipped in the blood of Jesus Christ — newly colored, transformed, and changed forever.

The time came for the children to dye and decorate those eggs. As they dipped those eggs, they imagined that they were baptizing people who were newly saved. It turned out to be quite a hallelujah time! Each Easter egg became a declaration to those children that several thousand new people would soon be saved and water baptized!

Aren’t you thankful that Jesus totally transformed your life? Don’t you see things differently from the way you used to see them? Hasn’t your entire outlook on life been altered? In a certain sense, couldn’t you say that there is new light and color since Jesus came into your life? Just go ahead and rejoice in the fact that you have been dipped and dyed in the blood of Jesus and that you’ll never be the same again!

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My Prayer for Today

Lord, I am so grateful that You accepted me when I was dead in sin and washed me with Your precious blood. When I was placed inside You, everything old passed away and everything in me became brand new. For this great gift of life and salvation, I want to serve You the rest of my days. I am so thankful to You for giving me a new view of life and a whole new reason to live. When You came to dwell in me through the Person of the Holy Spirit, the drab, dark days of sin passed away, and a new world of light and color filled my life. For this, I am forever thankful!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

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My Confession for Today

I boldly declare that I am a new creature in Jesus Christ. Old things have passed away, and all things have become new! I am not who I used to be anymore. I don’t think like that old man; I don’t see like that old man; I don’t talk like that old man; and I don’t behave like that old man anymore. Now I am in Jesus Christ, and I think like Him, see like Him, talk like Him, and behave like Him. I have come alive with vibrant life because of His resurrection power that works inside me!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

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Questions to Answer

1. Can you name the ways your life radically changed after Jesus Christ came into your heart? Make a list of ten ways your life changed after you got saved.

2. When you first got saved, can you remember how the world looked different to you? What seemed to be the most different?

3. Have you obeyed the Lord and been water baptized? If not, when do you plan to take this fundamental step of obedience that Jesus demands of every serious believer?