The Baptism of Repentance, the Baptism of Jesus, the Baptism of Christians

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Constantlyreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am convinced they are three different baptisms.

The Israelites were used to the idea of washings or baptisms to remove impurities. This baptism represented not the removal of debris, but the sign of repenting from sin…the removal of sin in one’s life. So, why was Jesus going through with a baptism of repentance? Was this the baptism that Jesus did? Was he participating in the same baptism as the crowd? Let us look at what He said in regard to the baptism. He told John after John was refusing to baptize Him: “But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.”. What righteousness? What was there to be fulfilled by Christ in His baptism. There must have been some command given to be fulfilled in the baptism of Christ. The commands and things Christ fulfilled were located in the New Testament. But no ordinary, typical verse comes to mind regarding the fulfilling of a command regarding the baptism of Christ, especially in terms of His righteousness.”

Think Think Think.

Who is Christ?

Savior.
Friend.
Lord.
High Priest.
Messiah.
Redeemer….

WAIT! High Priest…that reminds me of a verse regarding a prophesy regarding the high priest in the Old Testament. As pastor Steve Bradley states so aptly elsewhere on the Puritanboard: ” The law of the Old Testament which Jesus was obeying when He was baptized is found in Numbers 8:6-7. "Take the Levites...and cleanse them. Thus shalt thou do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water...upon them." The Levites were priests. Jesus Christ was (and is) a priest (Heb. 3:1; 4:14; 5:5; 9:11); He is our High Priest forever. Christ's baptism was the ceremonial act of His ordination to the priesthood. It was the rite that set Him apart as a priest and a minister of holy things.

Before any man could become a priest, three things were required: first, he must be 30 years old (Num. 4:3,47). (This is why Christ's age at His baptism is given as 30 years in Luke 3:23.); second, he must be called of God as was Aaron, the first high priest (Ex. 28:1). (Christ was thus called, Heb. 5:4-10); and thirdly, he must be sprinkled with water (Num. 8:6-7) by one already a priest (John was a priest, inheriting the office from his father, Ex. 29:9; Num. 25:13; Lk. 1:5, 13). Christ knew His call, waited until He was 30 years old and then came to John "to fulfill all righteousness," that is, to meet the last demand of the Old Testament Law for a priest before He began His public ministry.”

As evidence of the fact that Christ was made a priest by John's baptism, we note that when Jesus cleansed the temple (Mt. 21:12; Mk. 11:15), He was exercising the authority of a priest. And when the Jews came to Him asking , "By what authority doest thou these things, and who gave thee this authority?" (Mt. 21:23; Mk. 11:28), Jesus cited to them John's baptism, which He had received, and asked, "Was it from heaven or of men?" In Jesus' mind there is obviously a definite connection between His priestly "authority" and His "baptism by John."
He indicates that if John's baptism was from heaven, and He surely believed it was, then He had been truly ordained a priest and possessed authority to cleanse the temple.”



So, when I was a child, and I was told that baptism was something that Jesus did as an “example” for us, this was not necessarily true. Jesus stated that the reason he was being baptized was to FULLFILL a requirement of His ministry. What did Jesus lack that He needed to be baptized? Nothing, in terms of His nature. He was born completely holy, with no sin defiling His person. However, to be considered “righteous”, His holiness needed to be exemplified by completing the requirements His Holiness demanded of His life here on earth. As He was born without sin, and entered into His ministry sinless, it was necessary for Him to continue on through life sinless, in order to be considered righteous. In order to be considered righteous, in terms of His place as a priest, more was required from Him than just declaring it, or taking that position. He was do have the same sign applied to Him, at the same age as the men became priests; He was to be sprinkled (washed, or baptized) by one who came from the priestly line, namely John the Baptist. This was not man’s requirement, but scriptures, and thus, the requirement of the Father.

But why would John Baptize in a river? Why not in town or at the temple? Easy, because he was the voice crying out in the wilderness. His ministry was on the outskirts of town. He was a “wild man”. His home and ministry was outside town. In addition, where else would there be running water but a river? Where else could large gatherings of people meet to hear the news of the coming Christ, and masses be baptized? Where would Jesus preach? In the countryside…near water many times…on boats….it made sense to bring people to a place where it was practical to hear and receive the word. But doesn’t the text say that Jesus was immersed? It does not, unless you have been taught from an early age that baptized = immersed, and that the words are one and the same. The only reason that Jesus was baptized was due to His beginning of His earthly ministry. He was taking position as our High Priest, and required the washing of the priest to be applied to Him. The only description of how that was done, was described in Numbers 8:6-7, where it states that they were to have water sprinkled upon them. The fact that Jesus went to John to be baptized has nothing to do with the description of HOW He was baptized, but rather where, when, and by whom. We know He went into the river to be baptized. Why? This is where the water was….in the river. It is also where John was…at the river. Nowhere does the text imply He was immersed, unless you read that INTO the text by the way you interpret it.

In addition, John was baptizing a baptism of repentance. Acts 19:1-7 “ 1And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland[a] country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." 3And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John’s baptism." 4And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." 5On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying. 7There were about twelve men in all.”

John baptized a baptism of repentance. This is why He was confused when Christ came to him. Christ did not need to repent. Yet, He was baptized anyway. So, Christ’s baptism was a baptism, or washing, that had everything to do with His priesthood requirement. Any baptism that was received by John would not have anything to do with our baptism and how it is to be administered, as it had NOTHING to do with Christian baptism, based on the verses in Acts 19:1-7. Paul essentially gives these individuals a baptism that is identified with Christ, not with repentance as in John’s baptism. It looks to me as though a baptism of repentance had nothing to do with the baptism that the apostles looked to baptize with.

These gentlemen from Ephesus were not baptized a Christian baptism, technically, even though they were baptized, technically. Christian baptism identifies us with Christ. It shows our identification with Him, and into the visible church. It is exemplary of the gift of the Holy Spirit, which is poured onto us. Baptism, Christian baptism, then has nothing to do with repentance, but happens AFTER repentance, and before admission into the church.

I never thought about this before, but we cannot even look to the baptism of Christ or any of the baptisms associated with John’s baptism in order to find a reason that we are baptized, or an example of how TO be baptized. However, most Christians look to John’s baptisms at the river as representative of how to be baptized. Even those who distinguish between John’s baptism of repentance and Christian baptism tend to defer to John’s baptism as being the mode by which we should baptize. The text does not warrant that at all.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
I have argued against Jesus' baptism being a fulfillment of the priestly requirements in Num. 8:6-7 here.
 

Constantlyreforming

Puritan Board Sophomore
well, that's okay that you have argued against that, but that doesn't mean that you are correct in your assertions.

what does Jesus FULLFILL in regards to righteousness, in your opinion?
 
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