One of the many incredible elements and nuances of that mighty Shavu’ot, that Day of Pentecost, was the immediate fruit produced after Peter stood tall and made sense of the years of ministry that the nation had received through the life of Yeshua and his disciples.

Consider the first question following the apostle’s closing remarks:

When they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:37-38)

Those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41)

Less than two months after Messiah had been scourged and slaughtered outside the city gates, the Holy Spirit empowered the apostolic witness—and immediately there was revival. Three thousand people were added to the body that day. That’s incredible. And messy, to be sure. But step one for every single one of the new disciples was to repent, and the second step (just as immediate) was to be baptized. Baptism has been a pillar of public discipleship ever since.

Perhaps we’re desensitized to baptism—like semantic satiation, the phenomenon that occurs when you say the same word too many times. Maybe we’re a little too familiar with the idea of going underwater for a moment in the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit. Maybe, for many of us, baptism is simply a rite of passage on a strictly joyous day.

For many others, however, going under the water to leave the old self behind (Colossians 3:9) is like signing your own death warrant in your own blood.

Both experiences and perspectives are holy and valid to the LORD, and both are represented in the authorship of this article. Stephanie Quick was born and raised in the United States, and Pastor X is a leader of the underground church in the Islamic Republic of Iran. From there he trains a network of rapidly reproducing disciple makers throughout Iran, Afghanistan, and many other closed countries.

When Stephanie was baptized, it was in a large, publicly identifiable church building packed with hundreds of people. The crowd applauded her and prayed for her; then she went home and got a good night’s sleep safe in her home. For Pastor X and his network, the experience is very different. While baptism is an eternally significant act regardless of who you are or where you live, baptism under persecution is a uniquely costly and terrifying experience. It is never casual. There are no crowds around you, no casserole buffets afterward. There is discretion, there is allegiance, and there is cost.

But these are benefits.