Baptism is when Christians publicly express following and putting their trust in Christ. We receive His forgiveness, healing, and strength.
Paul compared baptism to the Israelites crossing the Red Sea (1 Corinthians 10:1-2), which is the central narrative of Israelites’ history. After God led them out of Egypt, the Israelites encamped next to the Red Sea. Right there, they saw Pharaoh with his Egyptian armies marching after them and were terrified. But Moses told them to have no fear, stand firm, and be still, for God would fight for them. Then God told them to go into the Red Sea (Exodus 14:10-14).
This personal experience of God transformed their lives—from the cruel, oppressive, and genocidal slavery to freedom; from mortal danger to safety; from terrified to dancing and singing (Exodus 15); and from living like others in the ancient world to following God’s commandments.
Similarly, through baptism, we would die with Christ and resurrect with Him in victory to live a new life (Romans 6:4).
This experience of God’s love and forgiveness transformed us—from the slavery of pride, social status, and guilt to freedom; from living in fear and the danger of total destruction in hell to safety and joy in God; and from worldly living to following Christ’s enlightened path.
With grace from God, we live our new life, and we have a new hope. We would see God fighting for us so we have no fear. We could stand firm and be still. As children of God, our life gets turned around; this process could be sudden, or it could be a long journey.
Because of God’s love for us, we love others. We help those in need. We march for the marginalized. We proclaim the gospel in words and deeds.
This is Baptism, the story of the cross.
Summarized from a John Ortberg sermon:
洗礼 — 十字架的故事
保罗将洗礼与以色列人过红海的经历相比较（哥林多前书10：1-2）。以色列人过红海是以色列人历史的中心事件。上帝带领以色列人出埃及后，他们在红海旁扎营停下。在那里, 他们看到法老和他的埃及军队向他们挺进而倍感害怕。但是，摩西告诉他们不要惧怕，只管站稳，静止不动, 因为上帝会为他们争战。 然后，上帝吩咐他们踏入红海 （出埃及记14：10-14）。
这次以色列人的亲身经历彻底地改变了他们—从遭受残酷压迫和种族灭绝的奴役生活到得以自由的新生活; 从面临致命的危险到享受全然的平安; 从经历极度的恐惧到跳舞而歌唱（出埃及记15）; 并且从像古时其他外邦人一样地生活到遵循上帝的诫命。
这种对上帝之爱与宽恕的经历改变了我们—从被骄傲, 社会地位和内疚捆绑的奴役生活，到被上帝释放的自由; 从活在恐惧和面临地狱中被彻底毁灭的危险中, 到活在上帝的平安与喜乐里；并且从活在世俗的生活中到踏上跟随基督的明亮之路。
这就是洗礼 — 十字架的故事。
Founders of many major religions were often very successful by the time of their deaths. When Moses died, millions of Israelites were about to enter the promised land. When Buddha died, he had achieved “enlightenment” with numerous disciples. When Mohammed died, he had converted most in the Arabian peninsular to Islam.
But Christ died on the cross, in an absolutely repugnant way. On the cross, He was abandoned practically by everyone. Yet the cross is the symbol of Christianity. Why?
Right before His death, Christ had a special Passover dinner with His disciples (John 13-14).
Passover dinners commemorated God liberating the Israelites from Egypt. The festival referred to a particular night when many firstborns were killed, but families with the blood of a lamb on doors were spared. So, the Passover dinner ate a lamb to remember the event.
But Christ’s Passover dinner had no lamb because Christ was the lamb. Through the blood of Christ on the cross, we are saved, liberated from sin and death.
If someone has harmed us, typically we either seek revenge on the wrongdoer, or we accept it, leading to inner struggle and pain. We have harmed God. How did He react? He accepted our mistakes and went through the pain of the cross.
Through the cross, a Christian community has been built. Israelites typically celebrated Passover with their families, but the disciples celebrated it with Christ. They were not bonded by family relationship, but by the common experience of the cross.
In many communities, the powerful support many and expect their loyalty in return. Many serve the rich for special treatment.
The community of the cross is different. This community was not based on mutual benefits. On the contrary, those in power serve, but not for any payoffs from those they serve. As Christ have loved them, so they must love one another (John 13:34).
Leaders in this community are far from perfect. Peter was shown as a selfish coward with no integrity. Yet, after repentance, he became the leader.
Meditate on the cross.
The cross shows God’s earnest desire for us. Through the cross, we are liberated and accepted by God. Though weak, we can still serve and love one another, because God loves us first. That may be why the Cross is the symbol of Christianity.
Summarized from a Tim Keller’s sermon.
但基督不同。祂以令人绝对反感的方式死在十字架上。 当时, 祂实际上被所有的人抛弃。然而，十字架却是基督教的象征。这是为什么呢？
逾越节的晚餐是为了纪念上帝从埃及解救了以色列人。它追忆以色列人历史上那个特别的晚上，埃及地有许多长子被击杀。 但所有将羔羊的血涂抹在门上的家庭, 就免去了这场灾难。为了记念这件事，逾越节晚餐的菜单中有一只羔羊。
如果有人伤害了我们，通常我们会报仇，使那人遭受痛苦； 或者我们接受这伤害，带来内心的挣扎和苦痛。但我们伤害了上帝, 祂是如何反应的呢? 祂接受了我们的过犯，自己经历了十字架的痛苦。