Dunked! by Randy Rowley 7/23/15 ©


In late August, my wife, Chris, my youngest daughter, Deanna, Tim Price, and I were fishing with live shrimp in Aransas Bay from Tim’s 16’ long v-hull boat.  We were mainly catching hardheads, so we decided to try to find game fish closer to Mud Island.  Tim started to head into the two-foot-tall waves, but he couldn’t get his boat on 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 put the throttle (gear shifter) in neutral, but that didn’t help.  He then put the throttle back in forward at full power 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.

Tim climbed on top of the hull and waved down a nearby bay boat while the rest of us clung to the boat’s side.  Our rescuers towed us to shallow water, which enabled us to right Tim’s boat and bail it out.  Tim couldn’t get his motor to start, so our rescuers ferried us and towed Tim’s boat back to Port Aransas.

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

We concluded that we were not overloaded as we had four big men in the boat during the FCS coastal duck hunt in January of that year, and we had a lighter load on this trip.  Shortly after returning home, Tim found a lot of fishing line wrapped around his propeller, which explained why he couldn’t get his boat on plane.  It probably also contributed to his boat capsizing.  Fortunately, after he removed the fishing line, Tim was able to get his motor to start.

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

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

  • to follow Jesus’ example; and
  • as an act of obedience.

Note that I didn’t include that baptism is necessary for salvation because it’s not.  If it were required, then the repentant thief crucified next to Jesus wouldn’t have been able to be with him in paradise after he died later that day, as it wouldn’t have been possible for him to get off his cross to be baptized (see Luke 23:39-43).

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 (NLT) says, “One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.  As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove.  And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.’”

Jesus’s baptism is a bit perplexing.  Baptism symbolizes that a person has confessed their sin and repented (turned from their sin).  1 Peter 2:22 (NLT) says, “He never sinned, nor ever deceived anyone.”  Jesus had no sin to confess or to turn from.  So why was he baptized?  Matthew 3:13-15 (NLT) provides the answer.  It says, “Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.  But John tried to talk him out of it.  “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?”  But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”  So John agreed to baptize him.”

Jesus’s baptism proclaimed that he was breaking 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 of God’s requirements, but it was a beginning step in Jesus’s 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 16:16-33, Paul and Silas had cast a demon out of a slave woman who could tell people their fortunes.  The woman’s owners became incensed when their income stream vanished, so they had Paul and Silas taken before the authorities, who had them beaten and thrown into prison.  They also ordered the jailer to ensure they didn’t escape.  He put them in the inner dungeon and clamped their feet in stocks.

Around midnight, as Paul and Silas prayed and sang hymns, and the other prisoners listened to them, a massive earthquake suddenly shook the prison, causing its doors to fly open and every prisoner’s chains to fall off.  The jailer woke up and saw the open prison doors.  He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself.  But Paul shouted at him to not commit suicide because they were all there.

The jailer called for lights, rushed to the dungeon, 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 he and everyone in his house who did would be saved.  Then they shared about the Lord to him and everyone in his household.  The jailer took them and washed their wounds.  Then he and everyone in his house were immediately baptized.

Notice that the jailer acted in the proper 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 urged his disciples to baptize new disciples in Matthew 28:19-20.  He said, “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.”

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’re baptized, we are visually preaching the gospel without saying a word.  When we stand in the water awaiting baptism, we’re symbolizing Jesus’s death on the cross.  When we’re lowered into the water, we’re symbolizing Jesus’ burial.  When we’re raised from the water, we’re symbolizing Jesus’ resurrection.  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 we’re baptized, we’re essentially 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.”

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 believer’s baptism.  Make the right one.

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible verse of the day

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/