Questions about Water Baptism


Why was Jesus baptized?

So God's people would know Jesus was the Son of God.  The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” (John 1:29-31)

To do what was right in the eyes of God, and to fulfill the plan of God. "Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied,  "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness."  (Matt 3:13-15)

Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus participated in baptism to affirm John’s ministry.John was an “All-Star” in Jesus' book.Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist” (Matt 11:11)

Interesting, three years after John baptized Jesus, and a week before Christ was nailed to a cross, when the authority of Jesus was questioned, Jesus asked, “John's baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?" They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' But if we say, 'From men'—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet." So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." (Matt 21:25-27)

Even the people who wanted to nail Jesus to a cross knew baptism was from heaven, but their spiritual condition inhibited them from belief, which is why Jesus died and rose again – so we can believe in Him, and receive His love, and relate rightly to God.


What happened after Jesus was baptized?

God identified Jesus as His Son"And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22)

In all four gospels, God identifies Jesus as His Son right after Jesus was baptized(See Matt 3:17; Mark 1:11; and John 1:29-34)  

Baptism was a personal act of identification.


Why were people baptized in John's day and during the early ministry of Jesus?

As an act of obedience to prepare for the coming kingdom of God.

The primary theme of John’s message was to prepare for the kingdom of God and for the king whom God would soon send. Jesus wit the same message, and then spent the next three years teaching about the kingdom of God. “The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not  Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to. Galilee.” (John 4:1-3) "Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel.” (Acts 13:24) John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus. On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.”(Acts 19:4-5)


After Christ was raised, what was the meaning of baptism? 

Baptism was, and continues to be, a living picture of the gospel.  “…That's what baptism into the life of Jesus means. "when we are lowered into the  water, it is like the burial of Jesus; when we are raised up out of the water, it is like the resurrection of Jesus.” Romans 6:3-4 (TheMessage)

Baptism illustrates your new life as a Christian “When you were baptized, you were buried as Christ was buried. When you were raised up in baptism, you were raised as Christ was raised. You were raised to a new life by putting your trust in God”   (Col 2:12 NLV) “All of you are God's children because of your faith in Christ Jesus. And when you were baptized, it was as though you had put on Christ in the same way you put on new clothes.” (Galatians 3:26-27 CEV) 


After Christ was raised, when were people baptized?

After belief in Christ as savior (Baptism never came before belief). 3000 were baptized after belief in Christ (Acts 2: 36-41) The new believers were baptized after belief in Christ (Acts 8:9-13) The Ethiopian Eunuch was baptized after belief in Christ (Acts 8:36-39) Saul was baptized after belief in Christ (Acts 9:18) The audience at the home of Cornelius was baptized after hearing the gospel (Acts 10:39-48) Lydia is baptized after belief in Christ (Acts 16:13-15)  The Philippian Jailer and his family are baptized after his belief in Christ  (Acts 16 25-34) Crispus and the new believers in Corinth were baptized after belief in Christ (Acts 18:8) The new believers in Ephesus were baptized after their belief in Christ (Acts 19:1-4)


Why baptism by immersion? 

Because Jesus was baptized that way. “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.”  (Matt 3:16)

Every baptism in the Bible was by immersion. 

The word “baptize” means to dip. Baptism by immersion best symbolizes a burial and resurrection. The meaning of baptism is diluted if we sprinkle. Baptism by immersion best illustrates what has happened in a person’s life. 

The founders of denominations, as well as the founders of today’s  largest parachurch ministries agree on the meaning and significance of baptism. “I would have those who are to be baptized to be entirely immersed, as the word  imparts and the mystery signifies.”  Martin Luther, first generation reformer from whom Lutheran Churches later emerged.  “The word baptism signifies to immerse. It is certain that immersion was the practice of the ancient church.” John Calvin, second generation reformer from whom Presbyterian Churches later emerged. “Buried with Him, alludes to baptizing by immersion according to the custom of the  first church.”  John Wesley, 18th century evangelist and founding father of the Methodist Church.  “Baptism is a public sign that you have now put your faith in Christ, and are taking an open stand for Him."  Billy Graham, founder Billy Graham Evangelistic Association  


Why should I be baptized?

To follow the example set by Jesus. At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.”  (Mark 1:9)

Because Christ commands it. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:19-20)  

To demonstrate that I really am a believer. “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:41)