Lessons from the Gospel of John: Six Points about Baptism (Part 6)

Actually, Jesus was not baptizing people. His disciples were. (John 4:2)

Matthew Henry makes six points about this one verse that can be used as lessons for us today. Even though his work was first published in 1714 it has ample value today.  I will begin to go through these points and discuss them as they apply to 21st century believers.

Point 6: He would teach us that the efficacy of the sacraments depends not on any virtue in the hand that administers them, as also that what is done by his ministers, according to his direction, he owns as done by himself.

In this point Matthew Henry’s Commentary is making a lesson that is as valid today as it was when written. Remember that in verse one of this chapter John said, “Jesus knew that the Pharisees had heard that he was making and baptizing more disciples than John [the Baptist].” The apostle John said that Jesus baptized more people than John the Baptist then specifically points out that Jesus Himself did not so the actual dunking into the water.   

I was baptized many years ago by the pastor of a small Baptist church in Hot Springs Arkansas. I still remember that day as I'm sure most of us can recall our own baptisms. It was a huge step in my Christian walk. The point of this lesson is that no matter who holds you as you go under, you are being baptized as a believer in Jesus, not to a denomination or particular local church.

I know that there are some who hold that baptism is denominational but the Bible does not teach this. In fact Paul talked about this very thing in his letter to the church in Corinth. As I mentioned in an earlier lesson, he was glad that he had baptized very few of the Corinthian believers so that none f them could claim his as their spiritual leader or begin to idolize him. Paul said that there is ONE baptism.

Now there is a controversy between some denominations. Some claim that you must baptize only in Jesus name and others say that you must baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I was baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, yet I am a follower of Jesus Christ. Does this mean that I am not a true Christian? There are some who would claim that.

My baptism is not what’s going to determine this. Christianity is based on faith in Jesus Christ alone. The thief on the cross was assured by Jesus Himself that he would be on paradise.  The thief was not baptized at all, into any one’s name. Yet he was going to be with Jesus.  Again, going back to the letter to the Corinthians, Paul concluded by saying “Whoever brags must brag about what the Lord has done.” I am not going to get involved in or try to decide a theological debate over this issue. I am also not going to brag that I was baptized in three names and others were only baptized in one. That’s silliness. Do you believe that Jesus dies for your sins? Do you put your trust in Him and Him alone? That’s Christianity. That’s Salvation.

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