The practice of Baptism was practiced in Israel before the establishment of the church. In the temple there were “Mikvah’s” – this was a Jewish “bath” that was used to symbolically cleanse the worshipper as they prepared to bring their offering to the Lord. It was also used for a Gentile proselyte as they began to identify themselves with the God of Israel. As John the Baptist preached in the wilderness, He practiced Baptism, those baptized identified themselves with his teaching. This is why Jesus needed to be baptized by John, He needed to demonstrate that His ministry would be an extension and advancement of John the Baptist’s ministry. John reminded his followers, “Jesus must increase, and John must decrease” (John 3:30). I Peter 3:21 tells us that baptism is “… the answer of a good conscience toward God…” Therefore, baptism is an outward action of an inward obedient heart to the Lord. We might liken the importance of baptism to a wedding ring. The ring does not make you married, but it announces to your community that you have a unique relationship with one person, and that you have committed your life to that person. Baptism aligns us to the ministry and teaching of Christ. We need to recognize the importance of that picture, and choose to be obedient to the Lord in our relationship with Him.