Dr. John K. Mathew
The Jews baptized Gentile converts, whereas John the Baptist baptized the Jews.
His baptism was authorized from heaven. It was not something John devised or borrowed. It was a baptism of repentance, looking forward to the Messiah's coming. His baptism fulfilled two purposes: it prepared the nation for Christ, and it presented Christ to the nation.
But John mentioned two other baptisms: baptism of the spirit and baptism of fire. Baptism of the Spirit came on Pentecost and the baptism of fire refers to the future judgment.
Water baptism is an important ordinance of the church and in fact, there are only two ordinances clearly and unmistakably commanded by Jesus. But it is interesting to note that through the history of the church, as many as twelve outward observances have been referred to as sacraments. Water baptism to be an ordinance was made clear by Jesus in his Great Commission. He says, "All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt.28:18-20) He not only preached about that but set an example for his church by submitting to baptism by his forerunner, John the Baptist. Jesus was not baptized because he was a repentant sinner. Even John tried to stop Jesus, but Jesus knew it was his Father’s will. Through his baptism, Jesus was identifying himself with publicans and sinners, the very people he came to save! Moreover, his baptism gave approval to the ministry of John the Baptist.
The Bible strongly emphasizes the importance of water baptism. Acts chapter 2 emphasises that repentance is the basic requirement for baptism. It reads "When they heard this, they were stung in the heart and said to Peter and to the rest of the Apostles, brothers what shall we do?
Peter said to them, repent and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (36-38).
A preacher in Texas preached constantly on water baptism. The people were tired of it. The deacons suggested he preach on something else.
He said, “Okay, give me a text and I will preach on it”. They gave him a text.
The next Sunday the preacher announced, “I have been requested by the congregation to preach on Genesis 1:1”. He read the verse out loud and said, “When the Lord created the earth he made it one-fourth land and three-fourths water, and that brings me back to the subject water baptism”.
Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But it’s true.