In a nutshell: John the Baptist appears to Jesus, preaches, and then baptizes Jesus. What is baptism? Immersion of somebody into water, which turns sin to righteousness – an outward symbol of an inward act. Although it is not required for Salvation, it is a step of obedience for those believing in Christ to help wash them inwardly of sin (symbolically – meaning it helps to cleanse the conscience so we are not as worried about sin).
John was a baby during the time Herod demanded that all male babies be killed (see earlier episodes of this series); therefore, John was saved as well as we see. John was six months older than Jesus Christ.
John the Baptist had a gift that was similar to the Old Testament prophets, and keep in mind that John the Baptist is the fulfillment of the prophecy that the spirit of Elijah will reincarnate – therefore, John is that reincarnation.
John preached repentance, because the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! Water baptism was part of this, as it was (keyword: was) required by the Law of Moses to be baptized for the elimination of sin. John did say that He (Jesus) was coming one day to eliminate the need for Water Baptism, because He would bring a new kind of Baptism (the Baptism involving the Holy Ghost – Hallelujah). When Jesus approached John at first, John refused to baptize Jesus, as he didn’t feel worthy.
About repentance: Repentance allows someone to make a change in their life, from something bad to good (sin to righteousness), which allows renewing of the heart. For example, if something is bad, you believe, then you can turn your life around for good – which is an act of repentance.
Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist for several reasons identified in Scripture: 1. To identify completely with mankind; 2. Water Baptism is symbolic of Jesus’ death in the future that also involved resurrection; 3. To be set aside for the office of Priest.
Now time for us to explore the Scriptures related to this beautiful event…
Matthew 3: “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Now, before rolling back into prophecy… Let us first read in John 1:19-28, “And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. Then said they unto him, Who art thou? that we may give an answer to them that sent us. What sayest thou of thyself? He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias. And they which were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet? John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing.”
What a fulfillment of prophecy, the Lord Jesus Christ… Let us read our first fulfillment in Matthew 17:12-13, “But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”
Now, we go over to Colossians 2:11-12, “In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.”