WHETHER Jesus himself personally baptized with water is not made entirely clear in the New Testament. John 3:22 says:

"After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea, and there he tarried with them, and baptized."

Again it is related in John 3:25-26:

"Then there arose a question between {some} of John's disciples and the Jews about purifying. And they came unto John, and said unto him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all {men) come to him. "

But John 4:1-3 says:

"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,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee. "

Some authorities take these passages to mean that Jesus personally administered the rite of baptism during the early days of his ministry. The Synoptics - Matthew, Mark and Luke - are silent on the subject. Matthew 3:13-17 tells us:

"Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, 1 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. "

Apparently the Pharisees expected the Messiah to baptize, perhaps from certain hints in the prophets, for John 1:25 says:

"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 that he baptized with water, but that there stood among them one who "baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." Matthew 3:11 quotes John as saying:

"I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than 1, whose shoes 1 am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and {with} fire."

Luke 12:49-50 quotes Jesus:

"I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will 1, if it be already kindled? But 1 have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am 1 straitened till it be accomplished!"

According to Mark 10:38-39:

"But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that 1 drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that 1 am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that 1 drink of; and with the baptism that 1 am baptized withal shall ye be baptized."

It appears from these passages that, while Jesus administered the rite of baptism with water in the early days of his ministry, it was merely a temporary practice and not a vital part of his mission.


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