Jesus the Baptist
By David J. Stewart
“When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,)” —John 4:1-2
We read in Matthew 3:1 of the Bible, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea.” Although the Bible does not refer to Jesus as “the Baptist” as in the case of John, it is quite significant to recognize that Jesus' ministry baptized MORE DISCIPLES THAT JOHN. That is quite remarkable.
I've heard numerous Christians refer solely to John 4:2 that “Jesus Himself baptized not,” while foolishly passing over John 4:1 which plainly states that “Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John.” It is important that we focus upon Jesus' ministry as a whole, and know that He very much taught and carried out the Biblical command to baptize new converts (Matthew 28:19-20).
Sadly, of the 37,000 churches belonging to the apostate Southern Baptist Convention, several thousand fail to baptize a single convert every year. If we are to exemplify the work of Christ in our ministries today, then we must baptize new converts.
Getting water baptized is NOT a sacrament as some foolishly teach. A sacrament is an act, such as water baptism or the Lord's Supper, which supposedly has some special power to the participant. No such teaching is found in the Bible. Sacraments are unscriptural. A person who gets water baptized is simply getting wet. Getting water baptized no more makes a person a Christian than walking into a garage makes a person an automobile. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). Anyone who teaches that water baptism is mandatory for salvation is a big liar.
Water baptism is an ordinance that the Lord commands only BELIEVERS to do, thus identifying ourselves with Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Water baptism is one's public profession of faith. A person does NOT have to be water baptized to go to Heaven; but should be water baptized, if possible, to please God.
So any time you read or hear about “John the Baptist,” remember that Jesus led more people to salvation and saw more converts baptized through His ministry than John did. I wrote this article to stress the importance of water baptism, not as part of salvation, but as part of being an obedient Christian in the Lord. If Jesus thought it was important to water baptize converts, even more than the most famous Baptist who ever lived, John the Baptist, then we ought to make it a top priority in our ministries to get new converts into the water as soon a possible.
But again, and most importantly, anyone who ADDS water baptism as a requirement for salvation is preaching an utterly false gospel. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15; 6:23). Salvation is receiving; NOT giving.
“The religions of the world say, do and live. The religion of the Bible says, live and do.” —Dr. Bob Jones, Sr.