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Jarrod Jacobs: The Baptism Of John Vs. The Baptism Of Christ

When we read the book of Mark, it begins by introducing us to John the Immerser, or John the Baptist. This is the man who prepared the way for Christ (1:3; Jn. 3:28-30). Among other things, we read about John baptizing people in the wilderness and specifically baptizing folks in the Jordan river (1:4-5). This was not the only place he baptized folks (Jn. 3:23), but this is where he baptized Jesus (Mk. 1:9-10).

             Later, when we read about John’s baptism in the book of Acts, we read where folks were told basically that John’s baptism wasn’t valid, and they needed to be baptized in the name of Christ (Acts 19:5). Why the difference? If John’s baptism was valid in Mark 1, John 3, and other places, why is it treated as invalid in Acts 19? What difference is there between John’s baptism and Christ’s?


             At first glance, there seems to be little to no difference between John’s baptism and Christ’s baptism. Both baptisms are immersion. Both baptisms are for those who are seeking “remission of sins.” What difference is there between these acts? Notice, I said at first glance there seems to be no difference. When we study, we see several differences between these acts.


             In John’s baptism, we see:


  • John told men to confess their sins prior to being baptized (Mk. 1:5; Matt. 3:6).
  • John told them to believe in “the One to come” (Acts 19:4).
  • This baptism added none to the church (No church existed then!).
  • There is no connection with Christ’s blood (Christ hadn’t died, yet!).
  • John’s baptism is described as “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mk. 1:4).


            In contrast, Christ’s baptism:

  • Men are told to confess their faith in Christ, not their sins (Acts 8:37-38; Rom. 10:10).
  • Men believe in the One who was come and died on the cross, been buried, and raised the third day (Jn. 8:24; Heb. 11:6).
  • Was “for (in order to) the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) – It’s not an act that one does, looking forward to something that has not yet come.
  • Puts one “in Christ,” or in a relationship with Christ (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3).
  • Adds us to His church (Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:13).
  • Is connected with the blood of Christ (Rom. 6:3-6; Matt. 26:28; Acts 2:38).
  • Saves us (I Pet. 3:21; Col. 2:12-13).


            John’s baptism served its purpose, and is finished. This is why the people were told to be baptized in Acts 19:5! We are commanded to be baptized in Christ’s baptism (Acts 10:48). This allows us to experience the cleansing effect of His blood (Rom. 6:3-4), adds us to His church (Acts 2:47), washes us from sin (Acts 22:16), cleanses us from transgressions (Col. 2:13), and enables us to be called “Christian” (Acts 11:26)!


            Have you been baptized as Christ taught? If not, what is stopping you from taking that step (Acts 8:36)? It is clear that Christ’s baptism (immersion in water) is necessary (Mk. 16:16). Don’t put off the most important decision you can make in this life! Contact me, and let’s make sure you are right in the sight of God.


-- You are invited to visit with the Caneyville church of Christ. Times of services: Sun.: 10:00 am, 10:45 am, 5:00 pm; Wed.: 7:00 pm. Website: Tune in to our radio program 101.5 FM at 5:30 am, Mon-Fri. Questions? Call: (270) 589-4167


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