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Summary: The first step in ministry for Jesus, and for us, public confession and receiving the Holy Spirit.

The Commission

Part 4 – The Baptism of Jesus

Pastor Bruce A. Shields

House of Faith – www.PS127.org





Matthew 3:11 – 17

“11 I (John) baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire."

The Baptism of Jesus

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"

15 Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented.

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."

The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word baptidzo, which simply means “to identify” or “to be made one with.”

In the Greek culture, this word had both religious and secular meanings, and in general referred to the act of identifying one thing with another in such a way that its nature or character changed, or the representation that a real change has already taken place.

There are two types of baptisms in the Bible, with many examples of each of the two types.

There are REAL baptisms, which involve actually identifying a person with something or someone.

There are also RITUAL baptisms, or CEREMONIAL baptisms, when water is used as a symbol for something else. The water represents something.

The individual is placed in the water, which means, symbolically, that he is identified with that which the water represents.

In the scripture here we see three examples of baptisms.


† Water

In verse 11 “I (John) baptize with water unto repentance:”

The Greek word translated “baptize” here means to make fully wet. John was dunking.

And the scriptures tell us he was baptizing unto repentance. Repentance here means reversal.

The Greek word translated “unto” is ice, and means “a point that has been reached”, so John was baptizing those who had reached the point of repentance.

This baptism of John was an outward act of an inward work already carried out.

An inward work of what?

Of a confession, and repentance of sin because the Kingdom of God was at hand.

And the baptism of John was also an example of what was to come, the real baptism of Jesus.

Just as the sacrifices in Old Testament times showed of the coming real sacrifice, Jesus Christ.

John also tells us that he is the one mentioned in Isaiah who was to prepare the way for the messiah, who is Jesus.

He prepares the way by preaching confession of sin, repentance and the baptism of John to show what must take place within you, a reversal.

He then tells them that Jesus is coming, but he will not baptize with water, because the water baptism is a ritual, a symbolic meaning of something else.

A symbol of what Jesus was GOING to do when He came.

Water baptism is an outward confession to the world that you have confessed your sin and repented.

Is the baptism of John what saves us? No.

Faith and Grace saves, not works or anything we could “do”.

Faith in Jesus Christ and the work of the cross and God’s grace of dying for us as the scriptures say “while we were yet sinners.”

Is water baptism our salvation? No.

1 Peter 3:21

“…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,”

We are saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, not the baptism of water. The scriptures tell us so.

Act 18:24

“And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”

Yet he knew only the baptism of John; he was instructed in the gospel of Christ as far as John’s ministry would carry him, and no further; he knew the preparing of the way of the Lord by that voice crying in the wilderness, rather than the way of the Lord itself.

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