24 And they which were sent were of the Pharisees.
25 And they asked him, and said unto him, Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?
26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not;
27 He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.
John, the forerunner of Jesus Christ, is known by his title, “the Baptist.” As he preached to the crowds telling them that the Messiah was coming soon, he also baptized many people. When we think of Baptism, we often think of a ritual that is done after one accepts Christ as Savior in order to identify symbolically with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. However, John baptized people before Jesus even began his ministry.
So, why did John baptize? The Pharisees, one of the religious groups that had come to question John, also wanted to know the answer to this question. They said, “Why baptizest thou then, if thou be not that Christ, nor Elias, neither that prophet?”
Baptism was practiced by the Jews before Jesus came as an act of cleansing. It mostly took place during the ritual cleansing ceremonies of Gentile proselytes — non-Jews who decided to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The submerging of the body beneath the water and the drawing of it back out indicated one’s desire to be cleansed of all past sins and to begin obeying God as He had revealed Himself in the Old Testament.
However, John did not just baptize Gentiles. He baptized Jews as well. His message was that everyone needed to reject their sins in order to prepare their hearts to receive the Messiah. Merrill C. Tenney said, “It is not unlikely that John’s baptism followed the pattern of proselyte baptism, which required a renunciation of all evil, complete immersion in water, and then reclothing as a member of the holy communion of law-keepers.”
Again, John emphasizes that his work is not about himself, but about the one who comes after him. He says, “I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.” Loosening the straps on one’s sandals was a job reserved for the lowest of the house servants. John did not even consider himself worthy enough to do that. John was not trying to get people to follow him. He was not trying to start his own religious movement. He was trying to get people to see their own sinfulness and to see that they needed a Savior. As the forerunner, he was preparing them to follow Jesus Christ.
Are you prepared to follow Jesus Christ? Have you recognized your own sinfulness and your need for a Saviour? Then allow me to show you the steps to salvation through Jesus Christ.
1. Accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 7:20: “For there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good, and sinneth not.” Romans 3:23 reads: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” In fact, I am the chief of sinners, so don’t think that you’re alone.
2. Accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
3. Accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” The Bible says in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
4. Accept the fact that you cannot do anything to save yourself! The Bible states in Ephesians 2: 8, 9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
5. Accept the fact that God loves you more than you love yourself, and that He wants to save you from hell. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
6. With these facts in mind, please repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and pray and ask Him to come into your heart and save you this very moment. The Bible states in the book of Romans 10:9, 13: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Dear friend, if you are willing to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, please pray with me this simple prayer: Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.