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The Baptism of John

And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3)

As I studied Luke 3 for a future lesson in the Luke sermon series I am doing, I had a few thoughts:

If baptism is unimportant and unnecessary, why is John baptizing people? Or to put it another way, why doesn’t John just preach his message of repentance? Why include the act of baptism with the message of repentance and preparation for God’s salvation?

Washing in water carries a natural, symbolic picture of cleansing. The people needed to be cleansed from their sins and baptism pictured that cleansing: the cleansed heart turning to God. Baptism cannot be optional, but is an important component of repentance and cleansing from sins.