John and Baptism (Luke 3)

Why was John, the cousin of Jesus, called the Baptizer? The best answer is that he was called that because he preached baptism and baptized those who repented and responded. Why did he do this? What was the purpose of his preaching baptism and then baptizing?

This is an important question because so many today devalue baptism. In the minds of many Bible teachers, salvation and baptism have little in common. Some flat out deny that baptism has anything to do with salvation. They would negate John’s entire message on the subject. Their focus on John is his role in pointing out Jesus, denying his message of repentance and baptism as a means of salvation and Jesus’s approval of it.

John the Baptist preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. If leading theologians of our day could go out to the Jordan to hear him preach they would laugh at his insistence on baptism. They would tell the people to ignore that part of the preaching and just believe in the one John pointed to. They would consider John a false teacher because he said that baptism was for the forgiveness of sins, that baptism was a part of their salvation, a key part. In Acts chapter two, Peter echoes John. He also says that baptism is for the forgiveness of sins. That’s salvation talk. Jesus said that whoever is baptized will be saved. More salvation talk. Sounds like he agrees with John and Peter. Or maybe they agree with him.

Just for the record, John the Baptist, Peter the Apostle, and Jesus the Son of God all offered baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Most modern preachers say that the three of them are wrong. What do you say?

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