Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of September 23, 2002
What is Baptism in the Jesus' name?
By SR. LOUISE ZDUNICH, NDC
What is the Baptism in Acts referred to as Baptism "in the name of Jesus?" I thought Christians were baptized in the name of the Trinity.
Several texts in Acts refer to this Baptism "in the name of Jesus."
Peter tells his listeners at Pentecost to "be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to have your sins forgiven" (Acts 2:37). Among other instances are the Samaritans baptized by Philip (Acts 8:10) and the Ephesian followers of John the Baptist who were converted by Paul (Acts 19:4-6).
We get some insight into its meaning in Acts 22:16 when Paul is told: "Arise, be baptized and be washed from your sins by invoking his (Jesus') name." It was then the individual being baptized who invoked the name of Jesus. The importance of this profession of faith by the candidate led to it being called "Baptism in the name of Jesus."
Paul indicates its importance in Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
What does it mean to confess that Jesus is Lord? Philippians 2:0 describes Jesus' exaltation as the conferring upon him the divine title "Lord." Jesus' divinity was revealed by his resurrection and elevation to the right hand of God.
Therefore, the baptismal invocation of Jesus as Lord was a profession of faith in the divinity of Jesus and therefore, in the Trinity.
The importance of Jesus to this early community is almost beyond description. It is only through the coming of Jesus that Christians became aware of the Trinity.
Jesus spoke frequently of the Father and promised to send the Spirit. From Jesus, the belief in the Trinity flowed. The Father was the source of Jesus' glory and the Holy Spirit was Jesus' gift to the community.
Therefore, invoking the name of Jesus was a profession of faith in the Trinity and a commitment to live the life of the Trinity.