What Did Jesus Say About Baptism?
There are many references in the New Testament to baptism and we should look at all of them if we desire to make a careful study about this important subject. A great starting place with all Bible studies is to see what Jesus said about it.
When Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized in the Jordan River, John resisted. We understand why John was hesitant to baptize his cousin, whom he believed was the Messiah. Yet, Jesus reassured him with these words:
Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness. ~Matthew 3:14
Whatever you make of that statement, it does tell us that Jesus regarded it as not only important but essential that he be baptized. It was not a mere tradition nor was it a religious rite that could be checked off the ‘to do’ list. Anything that is of such great importance deserves my attention as I resolve to be a disciple of Jesus. The Divine witness of Heaven further tells us that the actions of Jesus in being baptized honored and pleased God.
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”~Matthew 3:16,17
In another account we learn something else that Jesus said about baptism. It is the famous and well-loved story of the conversation between the Pharisee Nicodemus and Jesus. Nicodemus came to Jesus at night to inquire about his identity. In that conversation Jesus said:
Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. ~ John 3:5
You have, no doubt, heard many evangelical Christians speak of being ‘born again’. This verse is one of the places where this concept is found. But notice what Jesus says. One cannot enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. When we look at some New Testament passages in coming articles we will easily see that baptism involves both water and Spirit.
Your New Testament may have Jesus saying something about another baptism with which he would be baptized – a baptism of suffering (Mark 10:35-40, for example). But that is a different subject than we are examining right now.
One reason Jesus did not talk a lot about baptism, as we will notice, is that Christian baptism is a baptism into His death. It is after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus that the teaching about baptism gains greater clarity.
So far we have noted…
-Jesus was baptized. (Luke 3:21-22)
-Jesus attached great importance to his baptism. (Matthew 3:14)
– Jesus said that without baptism we cannot enter the Kingdom. (John 3:5)
Jesus did say something else about baptism as he gave his final instructions to his disciples. I’m looking forward to looking at a few more verses in our next post. Thanks for reading.