The Formula for Baptism
Jesus commanded His disciples to "teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19 ). He did not commend them to use these words as a formula, but He commanded them to baptize in "the name". The word name is used here in the singular, and it is the focal point of the baptismal command. The titles father, Son, and Holy Ghost describe God's relationships to humanity and are not the supreme, saving name described here, which is Jesus. "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12 ).
Jesus is the name in which the roles of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are revealed. The angel of the Lord instructed Joseph, "She shall bring forth a son and thou shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21 ). Jesus said, "I am come in my Father's name," and, "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, . . . the Father will send in my name" (John 5:43 ; 14:26). Thus by baptizing in the name of Jesus, we honor the Godhead. "For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9 ). Luke 24:45-47 records that just before His ascension Jesus opened the disciples understanding. It was necessary that their understanding be opened, and many today need this same operation in order to understand the scriptures.
Then Jesus said to them, "Thus it is written, and it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day." The disciples had their understanding opened so that they could grasp the vast importance of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Verse 47 describes the commission that Jesus then gave: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations (Jews and Gentiles), beginning at Jerusalem."
Peter was one of that number to whom Jesus had spoken and whose understanding had been opened. After having listened to these instructions, a few days later he was inspired by the Holy Ghost to preach on the Day of Pentecost. The hearts of the hearers were pierced and feeling condemned, they cried out to Peter and the other apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37 ). Peter did not hesitate but boldly answered. "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall received the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38 ). "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day they were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41 ).