This past Easter Sunday my son, Espn was baptized. He is six. And when the subject was first introduced I had the same thought you are probably have right now: he is too young, he couldn’t possibly understand what baptism means.
Espn’s baptism wasn’t planned. We had gone to church that Sunday knowing that, like all Easter Sundays at our church, the gospel would be preached, an invitation to accept grace would be made, and the baptismal would be open after service for those ready to publicly display their faith.
The kids hadn’t been in the main service with my husband and me. They were all in the children’s service hearing the gospel — the wonderful news of Jesus’ death and resurrection — at their level. So when the service had been dismissed, when we had picked up our littles, and we started to leave the building I was completely caught off guard when my husband said, “I betch ya Espn would get baptised. Espn, do you want to get baptized?”
Every fiber of my flesh cringed. I wanted to stop the conversation right then and there. We — my husband and I — needed to thoroughly discuss this before we made this desicion for our son. But it was too late. The ball was already rolling. The seed had already been planted.
“Yes! Where do I go?!” Espn asked with more joy than I can possibly describe. At that moment I should have caught on, but I didn’t.
“Hold on,” I said to my husband. “Make sure he understands.”
“It means my sins are washed away!” Espn exclaimed. Still I didn’t catch on.
My husband led us outside where several others had gathered to be baptized. I wanted to protest, but a still, small voice said let your husband lead (a whole other topic I could write a series on). Reluctantly I did.
As we waited for Espn’s turn, I stood there worried. Is he really ready for this? This happened too fast, we should have talked about this. What will others think of us letting our son be baptized so young?
When Espn’s turn came he climbed into the baptismal with the pastor. My husband, my other children and I gathered close around him. The pastor asked Espn if he had asked Jesus to live in his heart. With the biggest smile on his face Espn replied yes! The pastor asked if he knew that Jesus still lives in his heart and Espn replied yes!
In that moment, as my husband led us in a prayer, thanking God for the beautiful boy He had given us, thanking Him for Espn’s sweet gentle spirit, his compassion for the lost, and his love for his Savior, I finally caught on and the truth began to take hold of me.
That truth: the gospel is simple and the Lord reveals it to whomever He chooses.
In my hesitation I was believing a big ball of lies. Jesus only calls grown ups — lie! Espn is too young to choose, I must decide for him — lie! He has to have everything all firgured out before he can come to Jesus — lie!
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14 NKJV)
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39 NKJV)
Whether or not Espn would be baptized was not up to my husband and me. It was up to Espn. Espn wanted to be baptized and it was not my place to stop him. Espn knew that Jesus had died for his sins. Espn loves Jesus and Jesus loves Espn. Is there much more to grasp? When it comes to the gospel, the answer is no.
Is there more to learn? Yes, Espn will learn something new everyday as he walks with the Lord. There is always spiritual growth to be made, but it starts with simple faith: believing that Jesus is the Son of God, who died and rose again to wash away our sins and make heaven a real posibbility for us sinners.
Espn had shouted, “it means my sins are washed away.” He may have not been able to explain baptism well, but he knows that the water doesn’t wash way our sins, only the blood of The Lamb can do that. And that, my friends, deserves a big 6 year-old thumbs-up.