Questions From Readers
● Can you tell me why Jesus did not baptize? Are there any scriptures to show why he did not?—F. P., Canada.
At John 4:1-3 we read: “When, now, the Master became aware that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John—although, indeed, Jesus himself did no baptizing but his disciples did—he left Judea and departed again for Galilee.”
In view of these great numbers that came to Jesus for baptism, it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus left their baptizing to his disciples so as to leave himself free for the more important work of spiritual and physical healing. Then too, Jesus no doubt refrained from baptizing any at all so that no one later would feel superior because of having been baptized by the Son of God or less favored because of not having been so privileged. Even as the apostle Paul years later wrote regarding his own case: “I am thankful I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.”—1 Cor. 1:14, 15.
Besides, the baptism that Jesus’ disciples performed before Pentecost was the same as that of John and his disciples, namely, for the purpose of symbolizing repentance in preparation for the promised Messiah. Had Jesus himself baptized he could not logically have done so in preparation for himself. He would therefore have been obliged to begin something new, a baptism in his own name, the time for which did not arrive until the day of Pentecost.
Thus we have ample and compelling reasons why Jesus Christ, when on earth, left the baptizing in water in symbol of repentance to his disciples.