When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,…
I. AS PRACTISED BY JOHN (John 1:25-28, 33; John 3:23; cf. Matthew 3:12; Mark 1:4-8; Luke 3:8, 20).
1. Its nature — water baptism. Its mode uncertain. The word signifies either the application of an object to water or water to an object. Hence to immerse (2 Kings 5:14) or to wash (Mark 7:4; Luke 11:38). Against immersion in the present case stand —
(1) The multitudes;
(2) The impromptu and public manner;
(3) Its practice in all seasons.In favour of pouring is the contraposition of "with water" and "with the Spirit" (John 1:33), by which the two baptisms are distinguished. The believer is not immersed in the Holy Ghost, but the Holy Ghost descends on the believer.
2. Its import — purification of the outer life; reformation rather than regeneration.
3. Its design — preparation for Messiah.
4. Its obligation — faith. The recipient was bound to believe in and go over to the Messiah when He appeared.
II. AS CELEBRATED BY CHRIST (through His disciples) (John 3:22-26).
1. Its resemblance to John's.
(1) Performed in the same way.
(2) Possessed the same significance.
(3) Looked towards the same end.
2. Its difference from John's. Administered —
(1) By Christ's express authority.
(2) To such as professed their faith in a "come" Messiah.
(3) With a view of admitting to Christian discipleship.
(4) As an acknowledgment of obligation to learn and obey.
III. AS ADMINISTERED BY THE APOSTLES (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 7:13, 36; Acts 9:18, etc.).
1. How tar it agreed with the preceding.
(1) In form it was a baptism with water.
(2) In authority it rested on the commandment of Christ.
(3) In significance it symbolized purification and sealed faith in the Messiah.
(4) In effect it introduced to the Messianic Church.
(5) In design it bound to acceptance of the teaching and obedience to the rule of Christ.
2. How far it went beyond the preceding. It -
(1) Rested on the authority of the risen as well as of the incarnate Christ.
(2) Symbolized inward renewal by the reception of the Holy Ghost.
(3) Was administered on a profession of faith, not simply in the Messiah, but in the Trinity.
(4) Was not restricted to the Jewish people.
(5) Was not provisional, but permanent.
(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,