John answered, saying to them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I comes…
1. John's baptism was a carrying on of the office of the law. Neither repentance avails without grace, nor grace without repentance; for repentance must first condemn sin, that grace may blot it out. So then John, becoming a type of the law, baptized to repentance, Christ to grace.
2. John's baptism was higher than Jewish rites, but imperfect. Moses baptized, but with water, and before this, in the cloud and in the sea; but this was typically, as St. Paul also pronounces the sea a type of the water, the cloud a type of the Spirit, the manna a type of the bread of life, the drink a type-of the heavenly draught. John also baptized, and he no longer Judaically, for he baptized not with water only, but to repentance; but not as yet altogether spiritually, for it is not added "with the Spirit." The perfection of Christ's Baptism, which John's lacked, is that it is with the Spirit.
3. John's baptism was preparatory and initiatory to the gospel. He baptized not with the Spirit, but with water; because, unable to remit sins, he washed the bodies of the baptized with water, but not their hearts with forgiveness. Why then did he baptize, since by baptism he did not free from sin, except that maintaining the order of his precursorial office, he, who by his birth had gone before His birth, should by baptizing also go before the Baptism of the Lord? And he who by preaching had been made the precursor of Christ, should by baptizing also be His precursor through the image of His Sacrament.
(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)
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,