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 a 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 1: Jesus Is Master
“Because he would put a difference between his baptism and that of John, who baptized all himself; for he baptized as a servant, Christ as a master.”
John loudly proclaimed that he was only a front runner for the Messiah, Jesus. While John did not baptize “in Jesus’ name” he did baptize with a view toward repentance because Messiah was coming. It was his task to “Make the way for the Lord straight,” (John 1:23) and this is exactly what he did.
Today’s lesson is that all too often preachers and pastors count their success and failure in numbers, particularly how many conversions or baptisms they had. We need to remember that Jesus never told us to keep an account. We are told to preach, testify and make disciples. I want to point out that Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 that we are to baptize these disciples in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit, not in our own name! Verse 20 says that we are to teach them everything that Jesus commanded. Mark 16 says that we are to preach “the gospel” that is the Good News of Jesus’ resurrection, not our own news. Luke says “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his [Jesus] name.” We must remember at all times that Jesus is the Master and we are only His servants. When we forget this He will remind us and that reminder is often painful.
When we start counting conversions; when we start looking at the size of our congregations or the size of our buildings we are missing the point completely. It’s not about us. It’s all about Jesus. Preachers and pastors do not save people; Jesus saves people. Everyone we save today will have to be saved again tomorrow because we do not have the ability to save anyone.