Friday, June 17, 2011

Jesus and baptism

I'm reading in the gospel about the life of Jesus and came across some interesting and puzzling stuff. When talking about John and Jesus, Luke mentions that Jesus never baptized anyone, He left that to His disciples (Luke 4:2). That had me pondering "Why?" I mean, the first, obvious answer is He didn't want anyone getting a big head ("*I* was baptized by Jesus"). But, aren't all believers commanded to baptize? It's right there in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). I would appreciate any thoughts on the subject.
Another thought from the passages about Jesus and John: when Elizabeth was pregnant with John, Mary came to visit. When she was in the presence of Elizabeth and John, it says John "leaped" in his mother's womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:41). It made me think how the Holy Spirit is like Furbies. When two or more believers are gathered (Matthew 18:20), Christ is among them. The Holy Spirit just stirs inside them. So very cool!!


  1. I agree with your thoughts on why He might not have baptized anyone. Does the Bible explicitly say that He never baptized? I don't really see baptism as a goal but as a natural outworking of salvation. If people are being saved then they should be baptized but who does it is fairly insignificant, at lest in my mind. So it doesn't bother me if He didn't baptize but I think He would have a good reason and I can't think of any other good reason someone could have.

  2. I guess you're right, it doesn't say He never baptized, it was more implied. But, it is explicitly listed out in the Great Commission, so I always thought that we were commanded to baptize people. It's easy to say "that commission it to the church as a whole, so the *church* should be baptizing." However, we are always taught that the Great Commission is a directive to every individual Christian.

  3. I would say that the GC should be owned by every individual but that each member in the church may have a different part in fulfilling it together. Maybe Jesus was like Billy Graham and he had the disciples working the crowd as he taught :)

    I guess we have a responsibility to teach to obey in regards to baptism but that in the end it is just us witnessing someone else's obedience. If I see someone saved and someone else baptizes them, I wouldn't feel guilty. If someone else saw someone saved and I baptized them, I wouldn't feel obedient. But in the end I think each christian should desire to help someone fulfill their obedience by baptizing them but maybe Jesus had a good reason not to do it personally for the reason you gave above. I think as a church we have stressed the act more than the heart.

    Checkout Acts 10:48 & 1 Cor 1:12-17. I find them interesting on this topic.

  4. My Life Application Bible says that "the Jews used baptism to initiate converts, so John's audience was familiar with the rite." It wasn't new to them. But John used baptism in a different way, as a sign of repentance and forgiveness.

    I believe that Jesus did not baptize anyone because to truly be baptized in His Name (as well as in the name of the Father, and the Holy Spirit) it could not be done until after He had been crucified and resurrected. Because up to that point, the Holy Ghost had not been released to them by the Father.

    My ignorance of the Bible may be showing, but were the disciples directed to baptize people before the Great Commission? I know it says they taught, and healed and cast out demons but I don't recall baptizing as being included until after the Great Commission. Like I said . . . I am not well versed yet in the Scripture, so I will rely on you guys to help me out on that one!

  5. When talking with James about it on Sunday, he brought up the fact that Jesus DID baptize, just not in water. He baptized in the Holy Spirit (John referenced this in Mark 1:8). I liked the two passages you mention Erik, how they sort of distance the act of baptism from any one person's mission. The point is people getting saved, that's what we should give our lives for.
    Penny, in reference to your question, I see no mention of baptism in the Old Testament (which is weird) and no other explicit command to baptize other than the Great Commission. That was with a simple search thought, I may be missing something.

  6. Good morning! This is great. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about and discuss God's Word.

    As far as baptism in the Old Testament . . . because of the translation of the Bible I am using, I am unsure if the actual word baptism is used - but I believe the act of baptism is referred to in Numbers 8:5-6 as well as in Ezekiel 36:24-27.

    Also, I still wonder if the act of baptism as we know it did not start until after the Great Commission. If you read Acts 19:1-7, Paul re-baptizes some of the Lord's followers that John had already baptized because although they had been cleansed they had not received the Holy Spirit.

    Whatever the answer, I whole-heartedly agree that baptism is an important symbolic representation of our rebirth in Christ . . . but that the most important point is "people getting saved, that's what we should give our lives for."