There are two things repeated in all four gospels: 1) the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus and 2) the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, Luke 3:16, John 1:33).
The Bible teaches there are three baptisms:
- Salvation baptism. This is where the Holy Spirit baptizes us into Jesus (Galatians 3:26-27, 1 Corinthians 12:13).
- Water baptism. This is where another disciple baptizes us in water (Matthew 28:19-20).
- Spirit baptism. This is where Jesus baptizes us into the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11).
These three baptisms were foreshadowed in the Old Testament and in the life of Jesus:
- First Corinthians 10:2 says of the Old Testament Israelites, “They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Here we have a picture of salvation baptism (as Moses delivered the Israelites from their slavery and bondage to Egypt, so Jesus delivers us from our slavery and bondage to sin). Here we have a picture of water baptism (The Israelites first step after being delivered from Egypt was to pass through the water of the Red Sea. Our first step after being delivered from sin is to pass through the waters of baptism). Here we have a picture of Spirit baptism (as the pillar of cloud led the Israelites through the wilderness, so the Holy Spirit leads us through life).
- As Jesus was born of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20), so we are born of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-6) – salvation baptism. As Jesus was baptized in water so we are to be baptized in water (Acts 2:38) – water baptism. As Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16) so we are empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) – Spirit baptism.
These three baptisms were experienced by the early church. For example, the apostle Peter said in Acts 2:38, “Repent [SALVATION BAPTISM] and be baptized [WATER BAPTISM], every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [SPIRIT BAPTISM].” This pattern is repeated over (Acts 8:12-17) and over (Acts 19:1-6).
If the baptism in the Holy Spirit is something Jesus needed and the early church needed, it’s something we need as well. I ask God everyday to fill me with the power of the Holy Spirit, so I can point others to God effectively, like Jesus did. I think this is something we all should pray everyday. Remember, the purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit is power (Luke 24:49). Power for what? Power to take the gospel around the world (Acts 1:8)!