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Question #185

While Jesus was among us here on the earth, did he himself baptize anyone?

Hi, first all I love this site. My question is: while Jesus was among us here on the earth, did he himself baptize anyone. and if he didn't why not. (My son asked me this question and I want to be correct in my answer) thank you.

The Answer:

In John 3:22 John records: “2 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.” If this were the only reference it would seem that Jesus personally participated in baptizing. However, John 4:1-3 adds this information: “When therefore the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John 2 (although Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples), 3 he left Judea, and departed again into Galilee.”

Based upon these passages it appears that Jesus did not personally baptize individuals. Baptisms are attributed to him because those baptized were following His teaching. One can only surmise why Jesus did not personally baptize. It would seem, however, reasonable to conclude that Jesus was doing the more important task of teaching His hearers, bringing them to the point of baptism, and then turning over the actual physical baptizing to his disciples. In this sense Jesus was baptizing them, i.e., they were being baptized according to His teaching. In the same sense, it can be said that every person scripturally baptized was baptized by Jesus.

This conclusion is in harmony with Paul’s teaching and practice. He did not personally baptize many, but many were personally baptized as a result of his teaching. It was in this sense that Paul said that Christ sent him not to baptize but to preach the gospel. 1 Corinthians 1:17. Paul only physically baptized a few – Crispus, Gaius, and the household of Stephanus. 1 Corinthians 1:14-16. Paul was not saying that baptism was unimportant or implying that only a few of the Corinthians were baptized. In fact, he said that in one Spirit they had ALL been baptized into one body. 1 Corinthians 12:13. He was simply saying that he had been sent to preach the gospel and that others could take care of the physical act of baptizing the penitent believers.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)