Matthew, an eyewitness to the life of Jesus, recorded these words Jesus spoke to his closest followers after he was raised from the dead, shortly before he ascended into heaven.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18–20)
These were some of the last recorded words Jesus spoke before he returned to heaven. He told his disciples to spread the word about him to people everywhere, to baptize them, and to teach them how to follow him.
Jesus was essentially telling them to share his message with others—and when people came to believe in him, they should be baptized in God’s name.
So, if Jesus instructed his disciples to baptize future followers, we must first answer the question, “What does it mean to be baptized?”