If we had eyes to see what really happens in a baptism, we’d treat them as R-rated acts of violence. Not only is a person about to be killed. Not only are we about to witness a drowning. Horrific monsters writhe in the water. Dragons of the sea lurk therein. And a bloody battle, with crushed heads and butchered bodies is about to go down. To treat baptism as cute or sentimental or symbolic is a lie. Abandon all such foolish notions. Every baptism is war.
This is the night when the earth is without form, and void, and darkness is over the face of the deep.* And the Spirit of God moves upon the face of the waters. Then God says, “Let there be light,” and there is light. The seal of the darkness is broken and the morning of the first creation breaks forth out of night.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is perhaps one of the most unlikely—and unorthodox—places to learn about the Bible. But God often chooses out-of-the-box people and places as his favorite classrooms.
A number of years ago I compiled the following quotes from Scripture, the early church fathers, Luther, and others that address how various Old Testament narratives foreshadowed the gifts that our Father gives us in baptism. May they enrich your understanding, as they did mine, of how the Lord has always used water and his word to bless his people.
If you like the wide open spaces of Nebraska, you probably don’t like the situations in which God often places you. For he hems you in on every side, presses you between a rock and a hard place, so that there seems no way out.