Daily Word

Better Baptism | John 1:32-34

32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 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.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

John 1:32-34 (ESV)

Spirit Sign

John continues the testimony started yesterday. The topic now: the baptism of Jesus. Did Jesus need the Spirit to descend on Him to fill Him and give Him power? I should think not. He was already in very nature God so needs no such anointing or filling. 

Then why did it happen? 1) It provided a visible sign to John and the crowd that this was Messiah. 2) To show these first believers and disciples what the coming of the Spirit would be like (Acts 2). 3) It showed the harmony of the trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit were together working. 4) To fulfill what God had told John about Jesus. 5) To enable John to know with certainty that this was the Messiah.

Baptism – water / spirit

John baptised in water. All previous baptisms were the same (like the Gentile baptisms we discussed earler). Now is something new. The Spirit is involved. The baptism by water was one of repentance, turning away from a worldly way of life back to the Lord. We won’t tackle the doctrine of the Spirit here but suffice it to say, it is different by magnitudes from John’s water baptism. It includes and supersedes that baptism and adds the filling, sealing and indwelling of the Spirit of God in the believer’s life. Power to testify about Christ and live the Chrisian life comes with it as well as integration into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).

The Witness

Let’s remember, as John says in v34, that John came to point people to Messiah, to reveal Messiah. At Jesus’ baptism, it’s God that does the revealing; John serves as a faithful witness to the event. As John later repeated in 1 John 1:1, he saw these things himself – he’s an eyewitness.

<- Reflection ->
  • What are your thoughts about this “reflection” section?
  • Do you consider the Holy Spirit during your day, in your devotions, in worship?
  • What role does the Holy Spirit play in your life, in the church, in other believers?
  • Is baptism necessary for forgiveness? No. See here.
Water baptism of repentance and forgiveness

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