“The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples.” (John 4:1-2)
Only John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus carried on a ministry in Judea at the same time as John the Baptist. Nothing is said about Jesus baptizing in the Spirit. That was to come later. The Gospel writer made clear that His disciples actually did the baptizing and not Jesus Himself. The water baptism was a sign that identified the disciples of John and the disciples of Jesus. It has continued to be a sign that identifies Christian disciples until this day. That brought the crisis of these verses: word had reached the Pharisees that Jesus was “gaining and baptizing more disciples than John.” This phrase meant that the official hostility toward John would be shifted to Jesus and might cut off His ministry before His “hour” had come. That is why Jesus left Judea and went back to Galilee.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, today we recognize the Lord Jesus Christ’s ministry had effectively begun in earnest, and that John the Baptist’s ministry was to take a lesser role to that of Jesus’. John the Baptist had baptized people with water, and though Jesus’ disciples did the same, soon Jesus would step forth to baptize with the Holy Spirit. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“A clean conscience makes a soft pillow.”
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of he Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19)
This verse is crucially important in our understanding of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. This one verse emphasized both the unity of the plurality of God. Keep in mind the fundamental emphasis of the Old Testament concerning there being only one God. Add to that the New Testament recognition that three are recognized as God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Many assertions are made concerning the divine nature of each of the three Persons. Many passages reveal that the work of one involves the work of one or both of the other two Persons. Here the the unity of God—-the oneness of God—- is revealed by the emphasis on baptizing in the name (singular), rather than names (plural) of God the Father, God the Son,a and God the Holy Spirit. There is no hierarchy of Persons her. The three are named on a coordinate level, apparently. We must be careful that we do not lose either the unity of the diversity in the nature of God. It is also worthy to note that Jesus sent His disciples out to baptize, thus authorizing them to baptize and in the manner they were to do so.
“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” (Galatians 3:26-27)
Believers are sons of God by adoption, by regeneration. This is in distinction to the way in which Jesus is the Son of God by incarnation. It is also in distinction to the relationship that all persons have as children of By by virtue of their creation by God.
Being baptized “into the name of Christs” means being incorporated into the personal presence or “body” of Christ. People are often identified by the group they belong to: Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. Being baptized into Christ is like being clothed with Him, putting on a new kind of human nature—-Christian human nature. The new order of humanity in Christ transcends all the old divisions between Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female. The important new reality is that we are all one new redeemed humanity in Christ and members of His one body. In Scripture there is no word for “person.” “Name” is used for “person.” So, have the name of Christ pronounced over one in baptism means that one belongs to Christ and that the personality of Christ must be expressed in that life.
2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“As they travel along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?” And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch (Ethiopian) went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:36-39)
Some late manuscripts of he New Testament include verse 37, in which the eunuch confessed Jesus Christ as the Son of God before Philip baptized him. Earlier manuscripts do not have this confession, at least not at this point, but it is crystal clear throughout the entire Book of Acts that only those who believed the gospel and confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God were baptized. That authority for Philip to baptize came not from any earthly organization but directly from Christ through the Holy Spirit. As the church became established more firmly, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the two New Testament ordinances, were observed in the local church. The Spirit commanded Philip to go the eunuch’s chariot and then, after the mission was completed, took him away.
Beloved the Spirit guided the church in a general way to preach Christ. On some special occasions, He also guided people to witness to specific persons or groups. The power of he Spirit led the church to its great world mission. Personal witnessing to individuals is the foundation of that mission. This, too, is the Spirit’s work. The Spirit may have taken Philip away in an unusual manner, but not to worry. As the eunuch was rejoicing in the chariot, Philip appeared in Azotus and traveled about, preaching the gospel in all the towns until he reached Caesarea. Some would say “it’s hard for me to walk up and speak to people I don’t know;” It is a matter of setting self aside and allowing the Holy Spirit to take charge and speak through you. This is what those of us all called to do that call ourselves Christians!