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Buried Alive!
Photo: Justyna Furmanczyk
Browsing the Internet, I recently came across several short but fascinating stories.

In England near the close of the 16th Century, one of the pallbearers carrying the body of Matthew Wall to his grave tripped. As a result, the other pallbearers dropped the coffin. Matthew Wall revived and went on to live for several more years!

In the 17th Century, a Scottish lady, Marjorie Elphistone, died and was buried. When grave robbers dug up her body in order to steal her jewelry, Marjorie groaned. The startled thieves ran for their lives. Marjorie awakened, walked home and outlived her husband by six years!

A similar incident happened in 1674 to another Marjorie (Halcrow) who was buried in a shallow grave by a sexton who intended to return shortly to take her jewelry. While attempting to cut a ring off her finger, Marjorie awoke. She went on to give birth and raise two sons. Given up for dead, these three individuals were buried alive but rose to live again! 

In a similar way, the ordinance of Christian baptism symbolizes both death and new life. 

In the book of Romans (chapters 5 and 6), the apostle Paul explains this in the following way. God demonstrated amazing love for us by sending Jesus to die on the cross in our place. Death was the outcome for sin (disobedience) but out of God’s great mercy, Christ was allowed to shoulder that consequence on our behalf. Jesus died so we could live!

Because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, we all have a sinful nature. But through the obedience of Jesus, who went to the cross on our behalf, we how have forgiveness and pardon. When we accept what Jesus did for us at Calvary, and ask the Savior to come into our hearts and change us, Jesus proceeds to transform us from the inside out into new creatures.

Brand New Life in Jesus

Thus, Christian baptism symbolizes an event that has already taken place in our hearts and lives. When we are immersed in the watery grave of baptism, we tell the world we have died to our old life of sin. When we come up out of the water, we are cleansed and rise to a brand new life in Jesus.

According to Paul, through Christian baptism, we also unite ourselves to what Jesus did on our behalf, and its’ results. As we are submerged in the water, we are baptized into Christ’s death. When we come out of the water to begin a new life, it is symbolic of the fact that even though Jesus died for our sins, the grave could not hold Him. He rose from the dead on that resurrection Sunday to eternal life.

So, we too may have eternal life by accepting the Lord as our Savior, asking forgiveness for our sins, and surrendering control of our lives to God. Baptism says to the world, “I’ve given up my old life; Jesus has cleansed me from my sins and made me brand new!”

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By Kathy A Lewis. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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