Chapter OneJESUS AND BAPTISM
John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness (desert), preaching a
baptism [obligating] repentance . in order to obtain forgiveness
of and release from sins
And he preached, saying, After me comes He Who is stronger (more
powerful and more valiant) than I, the strap of Whose sandals I am
not worthy or fit to stoop down and unloose.
I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the
To baptize means to submerge. We could say it means to engulf, which
may cause whatever is baptized to be filled with something.
For example, if we took an empty drinking glass and submerged it in
water, it would become engulfed and filled with that water. We could
say that glass had been baptized in water or baptized with water.
That is a simple explanation of what I believe takes place when we
receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit - we become completely
engulfed and filled with all the power and presence of God, which
means we don't have to go through life trying to do everything on
our own anymore.
Jesus didn't try to do His ministry on His Own. First, He was
baptized in the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Was Baptized -
in Water and in Spirit
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized
by John in the Jordan.
And when He came up out of the water, at once he [John] saw the
heavens torn open and the [Holy] Spirit like a dove coming down
[to enter] into Him.
And there came a voice out from within heaven, You are My Beloved
Son; in You I am well pleased.
In this passage we see that Jesus received the baptism of the Holy
Spirit at the time of His water baptism.
Some people try to make a doctrine out of that event, saying that
everybody receives the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the time they
are baptized in water. Others claim that everyone is baptized in the
Holy Spirit when they are born again, or when they accept Jesus as
their Savior. Still others teach that children receive the baptism
of the Holy Spirit at the time of their confirmation or other
We must be careful not to put God into a doctrinal box. God may do
some things in an ordinary way, but He Himself is supernatural and
can go far beyond the borders or limits we human beings may try to
place on Him.
I know this is true by personal experience because I received the
baptism of the Holy Spirit in my car without even knowing what was
happening to me or that it had a name. I was a believer in Jesus
Christ, so the Holy Spirit was in me, but I knew I was a Christian
who had no victory and was looking for a deeper walk with God. As I
cried out to God for more, I was baptized in the Spirit right there
in my car. That may not be the usual place for God to baptize
someone in the Holy Spirit, but God chose to meet me at the point of
my need in a rather unusual way.
As another example, I know a woman who did receive the baptism of
the Holy Spirit as a twelve-year-old child at her confirmation but
did not know what had happened to her until years later when in
middle age she realized what had taken place in her youth. She
became aware that this experience was a catalyst for many other
powerful things that had happened in her life through the years.
The bottom line is, people can be baptized in the Holy Spirit at the
time of their water baptism, just as Jesus was, though that is not
always the case. But whenever the Holy Spirit is poured out upon
people. He comes upon them to stay with them in a special, powerful
way, just as He did with Jesus.
Descend and Remain
John gave further evidence, saying, I have seen the Spirit
descending as a dove out of heaven, and it dwelt on Him [never to
And I did not know Him nor recognize Him, but He Who sent me to
baptize in (with) water said to me, Upon Him Whom you shall see
the Spirit descend and remain, that One is He Who baptizes with
the Holy Spirit.
Notice the two phrases used here in this passage: never to depart
and descend and remain. Why were they used in reference to the
baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Under the Old Covenant, many times the Spirit of God would come upon
people temporarily in certain situations or for certain events. He
was with them but not in them.
For example, when the Old Testament prophets prophesied in the name
of the Lord, the Spirit of God would come upon them and give them
messages for His people. The prophets would then deliver those
messages under the anointing, or power, of God and the guidance and
leadership of the Holy Spirit. But then the Holy Spirit would leave
the prophets and would not come again until God had another message
to give them.
It is important for us to know that the Bible says that the Spirit
of God descended upon Jesus and remained, never to depart. Thus, we
may be assured we are never without the help we need for any task in
Jesus as the Baptizer in the Spirit
But you are not living the life of the flesh, you are living the
life of the Spirit, if the [Holy] Spirit of God [really] dwells
within you [directs and controls you]. But if anyone does not
possess the [Holy] Spirit of Christ, he is none of His [he does
not belong to Christ, is not truly a child of God].
Jesus is the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit This baptism in the Spirit
is not a visitation or a one-time occurrence in the life of the
When Jesus baptizes a person in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit comes
into that individual's life to take up permanent residence there.
But before a person can be baptized in the Holy Spirit, that person
must be born again.
If we have the Spirit of Jesus Christ living in us, then the Holy
Spirit is there within us also because the Father, the Son and the
Holy Spirit are all One. This is one of those things that our finite
mind cannot grasp. It does not work out mathematically, but,
nonetheless, it is true. God is a triune God - one God - yet three
Persons. We could not even believe in Jesus if it were not for the
Holy Spirit Who brings truth and revelation to us. That is part of