We read of John the Baptist and his work in Mark 1:4-5, “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.”  That is, John’s baptism was administered to those who came with a public pledge and profession of repentance. John instructed the people in Luke 3:8, “Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance…” 

As John said in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance…”  In Matthew 3:6 we read of those who were baptized by John.  That says they, “…were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”  John’s ministry of baptism was a call to repentance to the nation of Israel.  The confession of sin is a sign of true repentance.

The Lord Jesus authenticated the ministry of John by asking him to baptize Him.  We read of that event in Matthew 3:13-17.  We learn that the Lord’s disciples also baptized others in John 4:1-3, “When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.”  Since the Pharisees compared the baptisms of John and the Lord’s disciples, I believe we can conclude they were doing the same work…making disciples and baptizing them upon their repentance. 

The only other water baptism we read about is the ‘baptism unto Jesus’ as we read in Romans 6:3-4, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  This baptism is an identification with the Lord Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection for the salvation of believers.  Of course, this was not the intent of John’s baptism, for the Lord had not been crucified when John was baptizing. 

We may ask why the Lord Jesus did not baptize anyone?  It could have been that those who were baptized by the Lord Jesus would consider their baptism to be greater because the Messiah baptized them.  I’m sure the Lord’s desire was to keep the focus of the baptism on the repentance that accompanied it.  While the mode of John’s baptism seems to be the same as the ‘believer’s baptism’, the purpose of the two were very different.  (401.2)