John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes…
A river of baptism ought to be a river of death. You are baptized in the Jordan. How? Need we then care how? As antiquarians we would like to know how John the baptizer dealt with those who came to him: we would like to know whether they were dipped in the stream, or whether water was poured upon them from the stream. But now, ask your own conscientious affections whether the answer to this question, spiritually, is worth one sixpence to us, or, at any rate, of special importance? It is not. As antiquarians, it is very interesting to us, and we feel sure that if we knew the outward literal truth, we should get some suggestion from it. But we know at least this: the people that John baptized, and that disciples of Jesus baptized, were adults. That is clear enough. Well, then, if at that time adults were baptized, surely circumstances may occur again in which any rational person will allow that adults may again be baptized. The truth is, that it was not man that invented infant-baptism, but through the Lord God's providence at, as we think, the suggestion of His Spirit, that it arose. When people had been baptized, and children were born to them, that they never would let grow up into the heathen state in which they themselves had been when they were baptized, how natural that they should, by a water-rite, adapted from the rite with which they were familiar, hallow these children to the Lord God! What are we baptized for, by the Holy Spirit, into a new life, but that our old life may perish? "I wish my old life," a man may say," to be taken from me by the Jordan and carried down to the Dead Sea as soon as possible. Oh, let me be utterly rid of it; let my God save me by the death of the old man and the resurrection of the new." All that is outward is of value only for its significance and its suggestiveness.
(T. T. Lynch.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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:
WEB: John answered them all, "I indeed baptize you with water, but he comes who is mightier than I, the latchet of whose sandals I am not worthy to loosen. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire,