THE RED SEA BAPTISM

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-4)

Moses, as a type-of-Christ, led the Children of Israel out of Egypt to the Red Sea. There, they appeared trapped by Pharaoh’s pursuing army on the one side and the deep sea on the other. It looked like curtains for the Hebrew children. They could either die by the sword or drown in the sea.

When the sea miraculously opened up, forming a passage of dry ground between gigantic walls of water, it must have been a daunting sight. It certainly wasn’t an inviting one. Who would want to take a chance of “passing through the sea” when they knew that the walls of water could collapse at any moment? Still, Moses led the people into this place of pending death.

Surprisingly, the people’s following of Moses into “the sea”—the place of death—did not result in their death. Instead, it resulted in the death of the Egyptians, the Hebrews’ enemy and former enslaver. The Hebrews actually emerged from the sea to enjoy a new life of liberty and miraculous provision. In their new life, the people were divinely guided and supernaturally sustained. They were guided by a “cloud,” as well as sustained by “spiritual meat” (manna from heaven) and “spiritual drink” (water from “the Rock”).

When we follow Christ, of whom Moses was but a type and shadow, into the waters of baptism—the place of death—it is not us who dies. Instead, it is sin, our enemy and former enslaver, that meets its “Waterloo.” We actually emerge from the waters of baptism into a new life of liberty and abundance. In our new life, it is Christ, our “Rock,” who divinely guides and miraculously sustains us.

As we emerge from the waters of baptism into the wilderness of this world on route to God’s Promised Land, we can count on Christ to guide us as the “Shepherd of our souls” (1 Peter 2:25) and to sustain us as both our “spiritual meat”—“the bread which came down from heaven” (John 6:51)—and our “spiritual drink”—“the living water” (John 7:37-38). Though we presently find ourselves in the parched and barren wilderness of a fallen world, we need never fear an aimless life nor an unquenchable or unsatisfiable spiritual thirst or hunger, since ours is the continuous presence of Christ, our accompanying and ever-present “Rock” (Hebrews 13:5).

At the Red Sea, it was the Egyptians, not the Israelites, who actually got wet. Whereas the Israelites emerged from the sea into newness of life, the Egyptians were left behind in their watery grave. Likewise, it is our outer man, not our inner man, who gets wet at our baptism. Whereas our inner man emerges from the baptismal waters into newness of life, our old man is left behind in his watery grave.