We know that John the Baptist immersed people. In John 4:1, we see that Jesus' disciples were also immersing. John's baptism was a baptism of repentance. What was the purpose of the baptism carried out by Jesus' disciples? Also, is there a good reference I can use to look up answers to such questions? -- Ed
John's baptism called unfaithful Jews back to their God. It followed confession of sin and required repentance. The result was cleansing--forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4 etc). As I read the New Testament, the baptism of Jesus' ministry, even before the church began at Pentecost, was the same in nature and purpose.
The classic work on baptism is Baptist scholar George Beasley-Murray's Baptism in the New Testament. Other works of interest would be Rex Geissler's Born of Water (Great Commission Illustrated), John Mark Hicks' Down in the River to Pray, and F. LaGard Smith's Baptism: The Believer's Wedding Ceremony.
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