Why Was John Baptizing?

Q. I have a question regarding baptism. Why was John the Baptist baptizing people if Jesus had not come and died on the cross yet? When did the practice of baptism begin and what was the purpose? I thank you for all the wisdom you share.

A. The Christian Baptism is an adaptation of the centuries old Jewish Mikvah, which is what John the Baptist was performing. It was (and is) a ritual purification by immersion in water, undertaken before the Sabbath, Holy Days, and other important life events. It also marked both the beginning and end of significant periods in a person’s spiritual life. John used it to symbolize the beginning of a person’s spiritual preparation to receive the coming Messiah. As Christians we use it to symbolize the new birth after we’ve already received Him. Therefore the purpose of John’s baptism was different from the one that we practice in Christianity.

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