John the Forerunner
The work of redemption began with Jesus' consecration to
death at 30 years of age, symbolized by His baptism. There He who was made
flesh for the purpose, gave Himself to be a Ransom-price for all, to be
testified to all in due time. The humbling of the Logos to take human
nature, the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, and the years of development
afterward, were incidental. Similarly, the work of John the Baptiser was a
preparation. His mission was the announcement of Jesus as "the Lamb
of God which taketh away the sin of the world." He reproved sin and
exhorted to righteousness as necessary to all who would receive Messiah
and be received and blessed by Him as sharers in the Kingdom He would
John preached, "The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!
Repent ye!" Only the Israelites indeed, without guile, received
Messiah, and became associates in His glorious work. John's Baptism was
the washing away of sins against the Jewish Law, and was intended only for
Jews not wholly faithful.
John's Baptism symbolized cleansing from defilement, and
was preached to the Jews, and was applicable to them only. Gentiles were
excluded. How could they repent and get back into covenant relationship
when they had never been in relationship? The Jews, still under the
covenant made with them at Sinai through its mediator, Moses, had
relationship with God, for, as St. Paul says, they "were all baptized
into Moses, in the sea and in the cloud." Every Israelite in heart
relationship with God through Moses, was transferred from Moses, to
Christ, and needed no additional baptism into Christ, because already
accepted in Moses, the type of Christ.
When the call began to go to the Gentiles, several at
Ephesus believed and were baptized by John's Baptism, as though they had
been Jews. This was a mistake. At St. Paul's word they were rebaptized,
into Christ's death. Gentiles needed to be baptized directly into Christ's
death.--Acts 18:25; 19:3-5;Romans 6:3;11:17-25.
Jesus Questioning the D-D's