This week we are going to study John 1:29-34, this passage is about John the Baptist baptizing Jesus and identifying Him as the Messiah. So, let’s read the passage, “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”” John 1:29-34
This passage tells us about John the Baptist identifying Jesus to all his followers as the Messiah. It is also about John baptizing Jesus and seeing the Holy Spirit come down and remain on Jesus. Many people think that Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit at Baptism. I think there is some evidence that this is true, but I think that there is more evidence that He was filled with the Spirit from birth. There is some compelling evidence for this, we are going to look at one in Luke 2:41-52, when Jesus was twelve years old He was left at the temple, listening and asking the teachers questions. It says that they were amazed at His understanding and questions. These were not the average teachers either; these were the best of the best teachers who taught in Jerusalem; this went on for three days before He was reunited with His earthly family. But the mainline I want to point out is in Luke 2:52, “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” I think that this shows that He was still connected with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Even when Jesus was on the earth, He was one with the Trinity and was still a part of it, even when in His fleshly body. At Jesus’ baptism, it is one of the only times in history where it is recorded that the Trinity was physically there and able to be seen and heard by all around them (Luke 3:21-22). I encourage you to research and come to your own conclusion on when Jesus was filled with the Spirit.
So why was Jesus baptized, if he did not receive the Holy Spirit at that point? I think that asking this question is kind of like asking why did God rest on the Seventh-day after He created everything? It was not because He was tired, because our God is all-powerful and does not need to rest (Jeremiah 32:17). It was to set an example for the Israelites to follow so that they would be set apart from the world. Jesus was not Baptized because He had to be, but because He was setting an example for us to follow, so we could be set aside from the world and point people to Him. When some are asking whether they have to be baptized, they really should be asking the question the Ethiopian Eunuch asked: look there is some water, what prevents me from being baptized? (Acts 8:26-40). Baptism is not a weird thing for only the religious zealots or pastors. It is for all who are saved by the grace of Jesus, when you are baptized it is a symbol of your old self being buried and raised to new life in Him symbolizing to all around you that you are a new creation and that Jesus is Lord of your life. Baptism is not for unbelievers and it is not what saved you, it is merely just a symbol that you are surrendering your life to Jesus. One of the last things Jesus told them before his ascension, he told them to go make disciples and baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, so baptism is obviously very important.
In this passage, John the Baptist calls Jesus the Lamb of God Who takes away the sins of the world. John is telling everyone that this is the one we have been waiting thousands of years for, the one that the whole Old Testament points to. John understood that Jesus came to take away the sins of the world and that all people have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Therefore we need a Savior to save us because the penalty for sin is death. We all need Jesus to save us from death and being separated from God forever. John the Baptist then tells us that He baptized with water, but Jesus will baptize with the Holy Spirit. See Jesus came not only to save us, but once He left He was able to pour out the Holy Spirit on all who believed in his name. You can accept Him as your Lord and Savior today, all you have to do is to admit that you are a sinner, believe that He died on the cross for your sins, and confess Him as Lord of your life.
So this week, know that baptism is not what saves you, but is the symbol for the world to see. I want to encourage you that if you are saved and have not been baptized, to think about what is preventing you from being baptized? Find a local church and ask to be baptized and remember to invite your family and friends especially if there are ones who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior.