The baptism of John, was it from heaven,
or of men? Luke 20:4
The chief priests and elders were questioning the source of Jesus’ authority. He responds by questioning them concerning the authority by which John the Baptist performed his baptism – was it from God, or from men (i.e. by his own authority)? Jesus’ question was not random – not just something with which to confound them. John’s ministry was inextricably tied to Jesus.
- He was indeed commissioned by God (John 1:6),
- and filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Lk 1:15),
- to prepare the way of Christ (Mat 3:3).
- He introduces Christ to us as the One who baptizes with the Holy Spirit (Mat 3:11)
- – a clear declaration of Jesus as the Mediator of the New Covenant (Jer 31:…)
- He was sent “to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe” (John 1:7).
In short, he preached Christ and baptized those who repented and believed.
Many insist that John’s baptism was not “Christian”. They point to the “disciples” of John the Baptist in Acts 19 who were re-baptized. However, Apollos, in the preceding paragraphs was also a disciple of John who was instructed in the way (vv 25, 26; 9:2) of God, fervent in spirit, and who taught accurately the things of the Lord. He simply had not received the fuller revelation of the Apostles, and especially of Paul. Therefore, Aquila and Priscilla explained to him “the way” more perfectly. There is no mention of him being re-baptized.
The “disciples” in Ephesus, however, never understood John’s preaching (if they ever heard it). They didn’t even know about the Holy Spirit; yet, John always preached Christ as the One who baptizes with the Spirit; this was the core of his message. So when Paul told them that John preached repentance and faith in Christ, the Holy Spirit opened their hearts and they were baptized in truth.
Have you been baptized according to truth?