Why did Jesus Christ Himself never water baptize anyone?


by Shawn Brasseaux

This question, while rare, stems from two Bible passages:

  • “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. For John was not yet cast into prison” (John 3:22-24).
  • “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee” (John 4:1-3).

Although John 3:22 seems to suggest the Lord Jesus water baptized believers, John 4:2 qualifies He had given His disciples authority to water baptize in His stead. As far as the record of Scripture is concerned, Christ Himself actually did not water baptize anyone. Why not? As least two answers can be offered here.

Firstly, it has been suggested Jesus did not water baptize people because He did not want to accrue people to Himself. Far better it would be for John the Baptist and Jesus’ disciples to water baptize, thus bringing disciples to Jesus, as opposed to Jesus bringing disciples to Himself (which would give the appearance of selfishness or egocentrism). This is entirely plausible.

Secondly, whereas John the Baptist’s role was water baptism, Jesus Christ’s function was Spirit baptism (Pentecost, Acts chapter 2) and fire baptism (wrath of Daniel’s 70th Week and the Second Coming). John served in his capacity, not conflicting with Jesus, and Jesus served in His role, not overlapping with John. John the Baptist’s words about Messiah Jesus in Matthew 3:11-12: “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Also, Luke 3:16-17: “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”

Also see:
» Do I need water baptism?
» Why was Jesus water baptized?
» Why was water baptism necessary in Israel’s program?
» Why did Paul water baptize?
» Why did Saul of Tarsus not refuse his water baptism by Ananias?
» How did the Great Flood’s water “save” the eight souls in 1 Peter 3:20?