What Did Jesus Say About Baptism?

Examining the things that Jesus said about baptism in the Bible and what it means for us today. If you're interested in baptism, read on!

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Many people have questions about baptism, especially what Jesus said about it. In this blog post, we’ll examine the things that Jesus said about baptism in the Bible. We’ll see that Jesus emphasized its importance and how it is a key part of following him. So if you’re curious about what Jesus had to say on this topic, read on!

Jesus teaches a crowd about baptism

Jesus Mentions Baptism 3 Times

There are 3 times that the Bible records Jesus mentioning baptism. On two other occasions, with a possible third. Here are those occurrences:

Mark 16:16 – Jesus Commissions the 11 Disciples

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Mark 16:16

After his resurrection, Jesus commanded the 11 disciples to go out and proclaim the gospel to all creation. This included preaching that people believe and be baptized to be saved, which Jesus mentions directly. This one verse is probably the strongest evidence that those who truly believe will also be baptized.

Matthew 28:19 – Commissioning the 11 Disciples Again

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit

Matthew 28:19

Although this is similar to the event in Mark 16, I think this is a different instance. There are a couple of reasons for this. Primarily, in Mark’s account, it appears that this command is given directly after Jesus appears to them for the first time. Whereas in Matthew’s account, the disciples were already informed by Jesus to go up to the mountain to meet with him. This indicates that most likely this record is an entirely different occurrence.

Acts 1:5 – Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:5

Luke, the author of Acts, recorded Jesus’ words to the disciples before his ascension. Here Jesus promises that they will be baptized by the Holy Spirit after a short period of time. In this statement, Jesus references John’s baptism (which was immersion in water) with a different type of baptism to come. This Holy Spirit baptism occurred in the following chapter fulfilling the promise Jesus made in Luke’s reference, and also John’s record in John 16:12-15. John also records Jesus marking the disciples for the Holy Spirit in chapter 21.

Jesus stands before a crowd

Honorable Mentions

While not directly mentioned, two other places in the Bible record Jesus directly interacting with the topic of baptism.

John 3:5 – You Must Be Born Again

When talking to Nicodemus, Jesus made the statement, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” The reason I put this one into the “honorable mentions” category is that it’s not clear that Jesus is speaking about baptism here.

While it’s certainly possible Jesus referred to baptism with the phrase “born of water”, it’s also possible that he was talking about natural birth.

Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus’ Baptism

While he doesn’t mention the act itself, Jesus was baptized in the river Jordan by John the Baptist. Many wonder why Jesus was baptized since he was the sinless son of God, to which there are several answers. I wrote a separate article on this topic: Why Was Jesus Baptized?

Upon emerging from the water, it is recorded that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, and a voice from heaven (God) that proclaimed, “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.”

What Jesus’ Words Teach Us About Baptism

Baptism is an important step of obedience for every follower of Jesus Christ. Aside from the clear command Christ has given, it is through baptism that we identify with His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6). Mark 16:16 clearly teaches that belief and baptism are necessary for salvation. So, if you have not yet been baptized and you believe and trust in Jesus, I encourage you to take this step of faith and commitment. And if you have been baptized, thank God for His work in your life!

Further Your Study of Baptism

We have compiled a significant number of resources on the topic of baptism, and continue to add more at the time of this writing. Do you have questions about baptism? Please use our comments, or contact me.

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