October 27, 2023

Dying and Rising

Matthew 12:38-41; Romans 6:1-10

All of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.

—  Romans 6:3

I have never been a “water person.” As a boy, I did not enjoy going under water, so water parks were not much fun for me. Even as an adult, when I am swimming in a lake, river, or ocean, I am always wondering about the creatures that are much more at home in those deeps than I am. . . .

When some religious leaders taunted Jesus, saying they wanted to see a sign proving who he was, he said that the only sign he would give them was “the sign of Jonah.” Jonah, we remember, had been as good as dead, for he was thrown into the chaotic sea and was then swallowed by a sea-monster. But God had the monster spew him out on dry land after three days (Jonah 1-2). Jesus then said he would be “in the belly of the earth” three days, referring to his burial in a tomb. When Jesus explained this to his disciples, he said he would “be killed and on the third day raised to life” (Matthew 16:21). And then later Jesus died on a cross, was buried in a tomb, and on the third day rose to life again. He defeated sin and death for our sake so that we can have new life in him!

When a person is baptized in a pool or a lake or river, they go under water, picturing how, in Christ, our old sinful nature has died. Then they come up out of the water, showing how we rise to new life in Christ. And the renewed person is empowered to follow Christ in his mission.

Lord, thank you that in baptism we die and rise with you to live a new life. Amen.

About the author — Kristopher Walhof

Kristopher Walhof is a minister in the Christian Reformed Church who lives with his wife and seven-year-old son in rural Kenya. He teaches Bible and theology courses to theological students seeking ordination in the Africa Inland Church (AIC) denomination.

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