Dunked! by Randy Rowley 7/23/15 ©


In late August, my wife, Chris, my youngest daughter, Deanna, Tim Price, and me were fishing with live shrimp in Aransas Bay from Tim’s V-hulled boat. We were mainly catching hardhead catfish so we decided to see if we could do better closer to Mud Island. Tim started to head into the two foot tall waves but he wasn’t able to get his boat onto plane. Having no choice but to press on, he reached deeper water and then turned towards the island.

Suddenly a wave crashed over the bow (the forward part of the boat), swamping the front of the boat. Tim tried putting the engine in neutral but that didn’t help. He then put the engine back into forward, gunned it and tried to steer back into the waves, but that just made the bow dive under the water like a submarine. In the blink of an eye, the boat rolled to the right and we capsized.We all grabbed the side of the boat and then Tim climbed on top of the hull and waved down a nearby bay boat. Our rescuers towed us to shallow water, which enabled us to right Tim’s boat and bail it out. Tim wasn’t able to get his motor to start, so they then ferried us and towed Tim’s boat back to Port A.

The Lord blessed us that day as none of us were hurt nor had breathed in any sea water. Aside from a couple broken casting rods, a spotlight fried by the saltwater, and losing my keys (I had a spare truck key) we were no worse for wear.

Later we tried to figure out what had caused our dunking. We concluded that we were not overloaded as we had four big men in the boat during the coastal duck hunt in January of that year and we had a lighter load on this trip.

Shortly upon returning home, Tim found a lot of monofilament fishing line wrapped around his propeller. This explained why his boat could not get up on plane. It probably also contributed to his boat capsizing. Fortunately, Tim was able to get his motor to restart after he removed the fishing line.

Did you know that the Bible talks about being dunked? However, instead of being in a boat and being capsized, it’s a personal dunking. The Bible calls it baptism. The primary meaning is “to dip, plunge, immerse.” It is often done in a pool of water, either one that is man-made or natural.

Although there are several reasons to get baptized the three primary ones are:

  • to follow Jesus’ example (to identify with him);
  • to publicly proclaim that Jesus is your savior and the Lord of your life; and
  • as an act of obedience.

Regarding following Jesus’ example, the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River marked the beginning of his public ministry. It was recorded in Matthew’s, Mark’s and Luke’s Gospels and John referred to it. Mark 1:9-11 says, “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Jesus’ baptism is a bit perplexing. Baptism symbolizes that a person has confessed his or her sin and repented (turned from sin). But Jesus had no sin to confess or to repent from (see 1 Peter 2:22). So why was he baptized? The answer is found in Matthew 3:13-15, which says, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.”

Jesus was baptized to proclaim that he was making a break from his previous life. He was dying to the old natural relationships with his family and neighbors and his earthly purposes to be a son, brother, etc. and devoting himself from that day forward to his public ministry. It wasn’t that the act of baptism fulfilled all righteousness, but it was a beginning step in Jesus’ mission to identify with fallen and sinful man and to set the example for us.

The story of the Philippian jailer is a great example of why we should be baptized. In Acts 16:25-33, Paul and Silas had cast a spirit out of a woman who had the ability to tell people their fortunes. The woman’s owners became incensed because their income stream had vanished so they had Paul and Silas taken before the authorities, who had them beaten and thrown into prison.  About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, while the other prisoners listened to them.

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that shook the foundations of the prison. Immediately, all the prison doors flew open and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted at him to not harm himself because they were all there.

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked what he must do to be saved. They told him to believe in the Lord Jesus, and you and your household will be saved. Then they shared about the Lord to him and his household.  At that hour of the night the jailer took them, washed their wounds, and then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

Notice that the jailer acted in the right sequence. He was first saved and then baptized. Baptism without first believing and repenting is just a bath.

Regarding being baptized as an act of obedience, Jesus exhorted his disciples in his Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Yes, we should be about making disciples, including baptizing and teaching them.

By being baptized, we are testifying publicly that we:

  • believe in the sacrificial death, burial and resurrection of Jesus;
  • have turned from our old lives and become new creations in Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”); and
  • have joined the family of God.

When we are baptized we are visually preaching the gospel without saying a word. When we stand in the water waiting to be baptized, we are symbolizing Jesus death on the cross. When we are lowered into the water, we are symbolizing Jesus’ burial. When we are raised from the water, we are symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection. Essentially, we are saying without words, “I was crucified with Christ, my sins were buried with him, and now I am raised with Christ to a brand-new life.” Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

When Tim’s boat suddenly became a submarine on that hot summer day, we had no say in the matter. We were going to be dunked whether we liked it or not. But each of us has a choice on whether we’ll follow Christ in baptism. When making your decision, ponder Jesus’ words to his disciples in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.”

Categories : Devotionals

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