Ephesians 4:3-6; One baptism, part 12. John’s baptism and Jesus’ baptism.

Class Outline:

Tuesday June 1, 2021


In Luke’s account we hear John’s warning of impending judgment, instructing the people to graciously give and to be just.


LUK 3:7-14

He therefore began saying to the multitudes who were going out to be baptized by him, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 "Therefore bring forth fruits in keeping with repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I say to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. 9 "And also the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire." 10 And the multitudes were questioning him, saying, "Then what shall we do?" 11 And he would answer and say to them, "Let the man who has two tunics share with him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise." 12 And some tax-gatherers also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?" 13 And he said to them, "Collect no more than what you have been ordered to." 14 And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, "And what about us, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages."


The people convicted by John’s message ask what they shall do. John exposes their sin; their violation of the Law. God gave the Law to Israel for them to keep it. It is clear in John’s teaching that the Law was to prepare the people for the coming Messiah. The Law would reveal their sin. It would also reveal the true solution through the Levitical offerings and ceremonies as well as through the prophets and psalms.


The Law was a tutor to lead Israel to Christ, and so John came teaching repentance (submit to the Law) and baptizing so that Jesus would be manifest to Israel.


GAL 3:23-29

But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. 24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ [baptism that comes by faith - of the Holy Spirit] have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.


After His resurrection, Jesus clearly revealed this to His disciples using OT scriptures. He also instructed them to remain in Jerusalem until they received power from on high.


ACT 1:5

“for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”


LUK 3:15-17

Now while the people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, as to whether he might be the Christ, 16 John answered and said to them all, "As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 "And His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."


That John’s baptism was unique to Jewish can be seen in just how popular and novel it had become to the population.


MAT 3:4-6

Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair, and a leather belt about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea, and all the district around the Jordan; 6 and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.


John’s baptism differed from the Jewish in several ways, and one very profound way.


John was not granting Levitical purification, or bringing new members into the religious community of Israel, but by the penitence by which baptism was the symbol, he prepared Israelites for the immanence of the Messianic Kingdom.


JOH 1:29-31

The next day he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 "This is He on behalf of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.' 31 "And I did not recognize Him, but in order that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water."


Hence John’s baptism was not an end in itself but had a Christological orientation. Likewise, repentance or works in keeping with it were not the ultimate goal, but rather people’s preparation for the Messiah.


Repentance would be appropriated by faith in Christ which inherently includes repentance.


More explicitly than the Synoptics, John draws a connection between the Spirit descending on Jesus at his baptism and Jesus’ future baptizing of others with the same Spirit, JOH 1:32-34.


JOH 1:32-34

And John bore witness saying, "I have beheld the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 "And I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, 'He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the one who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.' 34 "And I have seen, and have borne witness that this is the Son of God."


After our study we can see why God commissioned the forerunner of Christ to baptize in water. Along with his message of repentance and confession, baptism showed Israel that she had to be cleansed of her sin if she was going to enter the kingdom of heaven. God would allow them to see, if they would, that repentance, confession and water baptism did not stop them from sinning, so then, John’s ministry was not and end but a conduit pointing to the One, the King, the Messiah, the Servant of Isaiah’s prophecy whom the Father would call His Son, “the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world.”


ISA 1:16-20

"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;

Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight.

Cease to do evil,

17 Learn to do good; Seek justice,

Reprove the ruthless;

Defend the orphan,

Plead for the widow.


18 "Come now, and let us reason together,"

Says the Lord,

"Though your sins are as scarlet,

They will be as white as snow;

Though they are red like crimson,

They will be like wool.

19 "If you consent and obey,

You will eat the best of the land;

20 "But if you refuse and rebel,

You will be devoured by the sword."

Truly, the mouth of the Lord has spoken.


Baptism of Jesus - unique as He was not a sinner. In the ritual Jesus identified Himself with Israel as her cleanser so that righteousness would be established.


The water was symbolic of the Father’s will for Jesus to die for the sins of the world. His resurrection is also implied and thus His baptism represented the fact that He would successfully complete His mission.


Why did Jesus, despite His sinlessness, submit Himself to baptism? He was willing to declare at the front of His ministry, that He would accomplish salvation for man at the end of His ministry.


This answer is contained in the event itself. At the event, the Father from heaven declared, “Thou are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Father was quoting the first Servant Song in the Book of Isaiah. In the four Servant Songs, the Servant must suffer vicariously for the people. It reveals clearly that Jesus was conscious of being the Servant (the Messiah).


At His baptism, the Father identifies Jesus with the Servant foretold by Isaiah, ISA 42:1.


ISA 42:1

"Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold;

My chosen one in whom My soul delights.

I have put My Spirit upon Him;

He will bring forth justice to the nations.


In the Servant songs, the Servant must suffer vicariously for His people.


“Servant” is “Son” when the prophecy is fulfilled from heaven.


That the Servant, the One who would suffer to save the people would be the Son of God, which connects the Suffering Servant to the other prophecies in Isaiah about the son who will be called Immanuel (God with us), ISA 7:14, and the son who would be called mighty God, ISA 9:6.


In the third Servant Song: ISA 50:4-9


ISA 50:6

I gave My back to those who strike Me,

And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard;

I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting.


In the fourth Servant Song: ISA 52:13-53:12


ISA 53:5

But He was pierced through for our transgressions,

He was crushed for our iniquities;

The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

And by His scourging we are healed.