The Mustard Seed
June 2011
"Ask Pastor"
by Pastor Ron Friedrich

"Was Jesus baptize when he was a baby?
Or was it the first time when John the Baptist baptized Him?"

Your first question -- Was Jesus baptized as a baby?  No, when Jesus was one week old, He was circumcised according to Jewish law (Luke 2.21).  Circumcision was a sign of removing sin and coming under the covenant of God which He established with Israel at Mt. Sinai.  In Colossians 2.11-14 we read how baptism has replaced circumcision as the way God brings us into His covenant of grace: 

Also in Christ you had a different kind of circumcision, a circumcision not done by hands. It was through Christ's circumcision, that is, his death, that you were made free from the power of your sinful self. When you were baptized, you were buried with Christ, and you were raised up with him through your faith in God's power that was shown when he raised Christ from the dead.   When you were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, God made you alive with Christ, and he forgave all our sins.  He canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross. (NCV)

Your second question -- Was it the first time when John baptized Him?  Jews had two different kinds of baptisms. (1) The Old Testament describes rules for washing and bathing which represented cleansing from sin and anything that was ceremonially "unclean."  (See Ex. 30.17-21; Lev. 11.25; Mark 7.1-5).  Jewish men and women and their priests did those washings (baptisms) many times during their lives.  It is possible that Jesus also did them.  (2) The other kind of baptism was a mikvah ceremony for gentiles who were converting to Judaism.  Until John came along, a Jewish person normally would never have that baptism.  Jesus also never had that kind of baptism until He received it from John.  You can read more about John's baptism and what it meant for Jesus at christdeaf.org/bible/baptism.

~~Pastor Ron