The delegation from Jerusalem could detect no potential Messiahs in the crowd listening to John.
Relieved, somewhat, they returned to Jerusalem leaving this crazy man in camel’s hair to his river, his crowd of fanatics, and their vacant hopes for a Deliverer. It was a mistake. The very next day, Jesus came to John for baptism.

Why Did Jesus Feel the need to be Baptized?
Since the baptism of John was an act of repentance, why did Jesus, who had no sins, submit to John’s ritual? From other sources we understand that, far from a remedy for personal sins, His obedience to the Man of God was an act of righteousness. In the New Covenant, baptism in water would take the place of circumcision as the sign of the covenant, the visible confession of membership in the Body of Christ. Jesus was already at work, showing us how to live for God in this world.

Behold! The Lamb of God…
When John saw Jesus coming to Him, he was moved in his spirit to confess:

“Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

John never sought his own glory. His job was to point the way to Jesus and to warn people to prepare the way of the Lord. In this moment of revelation, John went a step further. The Spirit had spoken to John that when he saw a heavenly dove descend upon Jesus, he would know that He was the Messiah. As Jesus came up from the river, the Heavenly Dove came to rest on Him and John made His historic announcement. He went on to prophesy,

“…this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’

The baptismal ministry of John would continue into the ministry of Jesus and, along with water baptism, a new immersion in the depths of the Holy Spirit would be granted to those who followed Jesus.

Two Baptisms
One, an actual immersion into water, would become the sign of the New Covenant and the other, a metaphorical but still very real immersion into the Holy Spirit, would be the empowerment to follow Christ.

  • Water Baptism signals to the world that sins are forgiven.
  • Spirit Baptism empowers the believer to be a victorious witness to the Jesus Story.

We must be careful not to confuse these two experiences; they both are essential if we are to live victorious lives for Jesus and effectively tell the world His story.

Receive What God Has for You!
Theological debates swirl around the details of these baptisms.

  • Some say water baptism is a means of saving grace and is necessary for salvation.
  • Others see it as an act of obedience and an outward sign of an inner reality.
  • Some believe, as do I, that Spirit Baptism brings a new level of prayer unhindered by the human mind. Others believers define “prayer in the Spirit” differently.

Let us be zealous to receive everything God has for us. Each of us must hunger and thirst for righteousness in order to be filled! To follow Jesus means to follow Him into the waters of baptism and to seek the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Such is the power of the Lamb.

John 1: 29-36

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.” And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God.” Again, the next day, John stood with two of his disciples. And looking at Jesus as He walked, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God!”
Matthew 3:13-15 NKJV
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Lord Jesus, immerse me in Your Spirit! Fill me to overflowing with Your Truth. Empower me to live a victorious life every day. Anoint me to serve others in the power of the Spirit. Let every detail of my life be a witness. May my voice tell Your Story. May I walk in the center of Your will. May Your love flow through me and bless others. May Your light shine from me to counter the terrible darkness of this world. O Lamb of God, thank You for water baptism that marks me as Yours and for Spirit Baptism that draws You so near! Amen.

Spirit of the Living God

Words and Muisc: Daniel Iverson

Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.
Melt me. Mold me. Fill me. Use me.
Spirit of the Living God, fall fresh on me.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2018 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved

TheJesusStory devotions are also found at

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