Q. Was the baptism of Jesus an official* or moral** act?
A. We think it was an official act as was His temptation and crucifixion.
Q. Are we commanded anywhere in the Bible to follow the official acts of Jesus?
A. No, we are to follow His moral acts.
Q. If then, the baptism of Jesus was simply an official act and dot a moral act, are not those good people wrong who contend that Jesus was baptized to set an example to His followers?
Q. Is there any evidence in the Bible that Jesus was baptized to set an example to His followers?
A. We have never found any such evidence.
Q. Why did Jesus say He should be baptized?
A. "Thus it becometh us (John and Jesus) to fulfill all righteousness." Num. 4:3; Luke 3:21-23; and Matt. 3:13-15
Q. What was meant by fulfilling righteousness?
A. Well, righteousness among the Jews had always meant conforming to the law, doing things in a commanded way, and there is no evidence that it meant anything else in this instance. Deut. 6:25
Q. Was there any New Testament law that Jesus could fulfill by baptism at thirty years of age, or any other age?
Q. Was there a law in the Old Testament which required a Jew to be thirty years old before he could minister the Holy things?
A. Yes. Num. 4:2-4, 35, 39, 47; Num. 16:8-9; Num. 8:14-15, 21, 22.
Q. Was Jesus to minister publicly in Holy things?
A. Yes. Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; Heb.3:1; Heb.9:11; Rom. 15:8
Q. How old then was Jesus when He was baptized?
A. Thirty years old. Luke 3:23
Q. What law required Him to be thirty years old before He could fulfill it?
A. The law of public ministry, the only law of the kind in the Old Testament. Num. 43-4, 35, 39, 47; Heb. 9:15-17
Q. Was the ordination or induction of Jesus into His public ministry different from other priests of His time?
A. Not in any essential feature.
Q. Could any one perform the duties of a public minister until he had been baptized?
A. No. Num. 8:7, 14, 15, 21-22.
Q. What mode of baptism was prescribed by for inducting one into Holy office?
A. Sprinkling. Num. 8:7.
Q. Then if Jesus was inducted into His public ministry at baptism, what mode must have been used?
A. Beyond all question, to our mind, it was sprinkling.
Q. If Jesus had been baptized by another mode, would He not have broken God's law for public ministers?
A. Yes, when the law said sprinkle, no other mode would suffice.
Q. What did Jesus say about the law?
A. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." Matt. 5:17
Q. Do not further acts of Jesus show fully that He complied with the law at baptism?
A. Yes, there is no record that He preached, chose apostles, performed miracles, healed the sick, raised the dead, or performed any other part of His public ministry until He had been baptized.
Q. Who baptized Jesus?
A. John the Baptist. Matthew 3:13-17
Q. Who was John the Baptist?
A. He was the last of the Old Testament prophets. "The law and the prophets were until John." He was also a priest in the regular order. His father was Zacharias, the officiating high priest of his time, and his mother was Elizabeth of the daughters of Aaron. We are reasonably assured that he was circumcised at eight days old, presented in the temple at forty days old, confirmed at twelve years of age, and we know that he was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.
Q. If John was a prophet, how did he baptize?
A. In the same manner that all other prophets baptized--sprinklings.
Q. Was there ever a question raised that John had departed form the law of Moses in his baptism?
Q. Did John baptize publicly?
A. Yes, Jerusalem and Judea, and all the region round about attended his baptism. Matt. 3:5
Q. Were those who came competent to judge as to what the law was?
A. Yes. The Pharisees and Sadducees came to his baptism. Matt. 3:7
Q. Why was no complaint ever raised against John?
A. Because he was baptizing just like Moses and all the prophets said he should baptize-- sprinkling people.
Q. If John had been immersing when those Pharisees and Sadducees came to him, would he not have been pronounced an impostor and violator of law?
Q. If Jesus had failed to do all the prophets said about Him, or had not fulfilled all the law required Him to do, would He have been thought the promised Redeemer?
A. "What think ye?"
Q. Since John was six months older than Jesus, and began his ministry six months earlier than the latter, or when he was thirty years old, how was John set apart to his ministry?
A. Was he not sprinkled according to Old Testament law?
Q. If John was sprinkled at thirty years old, how did he baptize Jesus at the same age?
A. Would there not be a striking contrast, if John was sprinkled, and Jesus was immersed?
Q. When Jesus was baptized, it is said: "Lo, the heavens were opened unto Him." Did you ever witness such a scene at a baptism?
Q. Do you claim to follow your Lord in baptism? If so, what for and in what way?
Q. Did Jesus believe, repent, and confess at His baptism?
Q. If John's regular baptism was to prepare a people for the Lord, was Jesus thus prepared for the Lord?
Q. Would it not be absurd to think of preparing Jesus for the Lord?
Q. If Jesus was baptized as our example, ought we not to wait until thirty years old for baptism?
Q. Do not some claim that it makes no difference which mode of baptism is used, nor as to the age of Jesus at His baptism?
A. Yes, but Jesus was under the law and all the law must be fulfilled.
Q. Are you not glad that our Savior fulfilled all the law required of Him?
Q. Would Jesus have fulfilled the law, if He had been circumcised at ten days old, or baptized at twenty years old?
Q. When John the Baptist baptized in Jordan, does that necessarily mean in the rive by that name?
A. No. The country had the same name as the river. John 1:28 says: "These things were done in Bethabara beyond Jordan, where John was baptizing."
Q. What did Jesus understand in Jordan to mean?
A. When they were near, or at the brink of Jordan, the Jews understood that to be in Jordan. Joshua 3:3 says: "When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan."
Q. Did John live at Bethabara when he baptized Jesus?
A. Yes, and was there the next morning after the baptism, when he pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God.
Q. What kind of water is at Bethabara?
A. A spring.
Q. Do ministers ever immerse in springs nowadays?
Q. If John baptized the multitude by sprinkling, how did he baptize Jesus?
Q. Was it a novel scene in Israel for men like John the Baptist to go to streams for baptism?
A. No, all priests did so.
Q. Was John the Baptist the only priest that ever baptized "in Jordan"?
A. No. His fathers and grandfathers had baptized in the region.
Q. If John the Baptist, a minister of God, under the Old Testament, should have immersed Jesus, would he not have violated the prophecies and promises of all the prophets?
J. E. Mahaffey says: "Christ was not baptized for repentance, for He had no sin to repent of, nor was He exhorted to believe in a Messiah yet to come (the Messiah was Christ Himself)."
He was not baptized as an example to the people, for they were baptized before He was (Luke 3:21), nor was He baptized as an example to us, for He was baptized at thirty years old, and none will say that we should wait so long.
J. P. Hobson says: "Jesus was baptized to fulfill the Scriptures, and beyond a doubt He was not immersed, for the Scriptures did not teach immersion. God had ordained in the law sprinkling, and had by prophet after prophet extolled the ceremonial. Immersion was not directed. Is it possible that the Jewish Messiah, when baptized by a Jew, for the Jews to fulfill Jewish Scriptures, ignored the very Scriptures He was fulfilling."
* The official acts are those Old Testament requirements that God had ordained for the setting aside of people for the priesthood and other holy offices.
** The moral acts would be those applicable to all people in symbolizing their relationships with God.
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