Three Dimensions of Baptism: Mark 1:4-5 and Matthew 28:18-20
“4) John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5) And all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people of Jerusalem; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.” ‭‭Mark‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬-‭5‬
“18) And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19) Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20) teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”” Matthew 28:18-20
Have you ever noticed the groupings of three in the Bible? Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Body, soul and spirit. Outer court, holy place, Holy of Holies. Repentance, forgiveness and power.
When you compare Mark 1:4 with Mathew 28:19-20, some interesting comparisons emerge. Mark 1 was at the beginning of the public ministry of Jesus while Mathew 28 was at the end. Things were changing fast.
So let me ask a basic question; “Whose Name do you suppose John the Baptist used when baptizing?” Was it the name of the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit?
The answer is self evident. It had to be the Father. He was introducing the Son and the Holy Spirit was not yet given.
So what kind of baptism was it? According to the text, it was a baptism of repentance. (Mark 1:4) This is about to get interesting, especially for you who followed the study we just completed called “Spirit Quest.”
So why baptism in the Name of Jesus? What kind of baptism was it? According to Acts 2:38 it was a baptism of forgiveness. Repentance was still important, but forgiveness was its focus.
Let me ask the obvious next question; What is the purpose of Baptism in the Holy Spirit? According to Acts 1:4-8, it is a baptism of power.
Suddenly, the groupings of three are starting to line up in a sequential order. Look at these logical groupings:
Father… body… outer court… Repentance
Son… soul… holy place …. Forgiveness
Holy Spirit… spirit… Holy of Holies… Power
Do you see wonderful picture that is emerging. Be careful not to confuse the simplicity and glory of this picture, but it seems like God is saying something profound. (This gets me so excited. When I first saw this it was like turbo charging my walk with God.)
Repentance from the deeds of our flesh seems to be directed toward the Father. It acknowledges that our sins have separated us from God.
Forgiveness seems to be applied to the soul based on the work of Jesus Christ. It is trusting Jesus to remove the wall of separation and bring inner healing.
Power emerges from the renewed human spirit when we are filled with the Holy Spirit. It stepping into our new life in the spirit.
Suddenly, the born-again believer becomes a temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20) We have three parts: the outer court, the holy place, and the Holy of Holies. (body, soul and spirit)
I don’t want to press this comparison too far. Some want just a baptism in the Name of Jesus and have forced this progression to the exclusion of Matthew 28:19.
This is a tragic mistake. We need to relate to all three persons of the godhead. We need reverence toward the Father. (1 Peter 1:17-19) We need Shepherding from the Son. (1 Peter 5:4, John 10) And we need inner power through the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8) The three harmonize together to make us complete.
The ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare Israel for their Messiah and to prepare them for a major shift from the system of the Law to the system of truth and grace. (See 1:14-18) What a glorious picture when the full scope of salvation is understood. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the full significance of these biblical truths to you. Enjoy the journey into the depth of God and His original design for mankind.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global