I consider three major events in life to be some filled with the most anticipation. Consider for a moment these three: weddings, births, and baptisms. All three have their own anticipation, and, if not considered properly, are filled with the biggest disappointments or frustrations. How much work and effort goes in to a wedding day? The planning, the dresses and tuxes, the guest list, the food, the music...so many details, but often times the disappointment comes when the Day feels right, but the work and effort that go in to the actual marriage is missing. Too many people focus on the start, but do not put the effort in to see it through to the end. Birth is the same: anticipation, painting the nursery, picking names, buying clothes...and yet many people are unprepared for the reality of raising a child. They want a kid, but do not want to put in the efforts to actively raise children. The Foster care system, discipline in school, kids who are raised by the TV and Tablet are proof of this.
Baptism isn't much different. I have counseled many and led many to Christ since beginning my ministry, and I can almost anticipate whose hearts are in it, and whose are not. Some anticipate Baptism as a turning point, and as with Marriage and Child Birth, it should be. But they don't anticipate what comes next. Many like the idea of sins being washed away, but the rebirth that comes with it isn't an appealing idea. They consider baptism to be an overhaul, when it is really a tearing down of the old, and a building up of a new. That is why Jesus told Nicodemus “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” We must be reborn. Built again from the ground up, changed utterly inside and out. Baptism, as with weddings and births are great days, but there's more to come. These days are just beginnings. As my Father in-law told me when coming up on my own marriage "It's one day; the rest of your life is what you have to make count." Perhaps, we can all take this to heart, especially in concern to the Kingdom and following Jesus as our Lord.
Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.