John, The Immerser

John, the Immerser.

Have you ever seen religious Jews at the corners of some streets, inviting others Jewish passers-by do done Tephillin? I mean, Philacteries. Many still do this as a religious occupation with the purpose to cause other Jews to perform a mitzvah. I mean, a commandment.

That was John’s occupation: To immerse Jews in the Jordan River, over and over again everyday. Many Jews used to and still do it daily, others weekly before the Shabbat, others only before a festival, and almost all before a happy event in life, like a wedding, bar-mitzvah, or anything uncommon.

The point is that many Jews would do this as an occupation, but they had their own lives to live. It means that John could very well have been a married man, which would neutralize the Christian claim that John was an Essene, and of those who observed celibacy. These kind of Essenes would live their lives “indoors;” I mean, in their claustro-like style of life. John and Jesus, on the contrary, were men of the outside; mingling with the crowds. Ambulant Teachers or Rabbis.

Now, why Jonh the Immerser and not John the Baptist? I was asked once.
Simply because Baptist was never a Jewish term. It had become common with the rise of Christianity. (Mat. 28:19; Acts 19:5) Then, John and Jesus were Jewish. And what John did could never be compared with baptism, because this is something done once for life; and what John did, it could be done even every single day with the same prospects. (Mat.3:7)


You are absolutely correct - what John did was not Christian baptism but Jewish mikvah. It offered ritual purification, not the remission of sin. This is also why Jesus, who was sinless, could still present Himself to John for mikvah.

John himself described what he was doing in terms of preparation for the Messiah. He was calling people to repentance in order to prepare their hearts to receive the Anointed One whose arrival was imminent.

Christian scripture clearly distinguishes between “John’s baptism” and “Baptism in the Name of the Lord” (see Acts 19:3) but many Christians continue to be confused by the use of the same word for both.

**What are you trying to do, make me feel guilty? There is an enormous difference between what Christians do as baptism and what John used to do mikveh immersion. Jewish immersion can be done even everyday. Jesus himself could have been immersed by John more than several times whenever he came down to Judea. And if you ask me there was no difference between his immersion and the other hundreds of Jews John would immerse everyday. **

Immerse (m) is the Jewish synonym of Baptism

That is the problem of the Jewish. You guys focused too much on the practice but forget the meaning.

No, it is not. Immersion can be done with the same person everyday according to religious customs. Baptism is done once in a lifetime. I didn’t think I had to remind a Catholic about this.

I think the opposite is true. You guys put so much importance on baptism that it cannot be repeated on the same person. For us immersion is so common that we can do it even everyday on the same person.

Are you comparing John the “Immerser” to the ladies “Immersing” those males in many Spa?

If you understand the meaning of your Immersion, what is the significance of having “it” daily or once in a lifetime?

No, I’m agreeing with you. What John did was not Christian baptism. Christians believe that Baptism actually effects (changes) the soul-that’s why it’s a sacrament - a sign which effects what it symbolizes. Jewish Mikvah is a potent symbol, but it is not a sacrament. As with the Eucharist, which Jesus infused into the existing Passover rite, turning it into something very different, in Baptism Jesus took the ritual Mikvah and turned it into the Christian sacrament.

No, Insider, that’s not true. What you are doing is to try to apply Replacement Theology. Jesus was a loyal Jew. He never tried to turn the Passover right into anything Christian, neither the ritual of Jewish Mikvah into a Christian sacrament. Nice try but you cannot pocket the mind of of Jew.

If Jesus was a loyal Jew, why do you only believe him for 20% (You said that in another thread)?

**Yes, but what has been written about him was 50+ years after he had been gone. And for a Jew to acknowledge as true 20 percent of what and about Jesus is more than Christians can bargain for. Other Jews believe zero percent, and are even hostile to the idea. **

Very interesting indeed. Next time I would like to explore what of 20% of Jesus you believe. You are correct. Having 20% similarity is better than none at all.

Ah, I see - I misunderstood your original point - which, obviously, I disagree with! However, I thank you for the thread because many Christians do find the whole issue of John’s Baptism confusing, and this provided an opportunity to clarify it.

I am glad. Thanks for letting me know.

Of course there is a big difference. Jewish immersion could be done everyday. Christian baptism is an actual remission of sin.

That is why John said: (John 1:29-34)

“Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.”

Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. I would not have known him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.”

And now do not start in with the whole “replacement theology” or “bible written by followers of Paul” stuff.

You’re wrong, Ben - dead wrong.
Whereas, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law - Jesus came to fulfill it.
**He was the fulfillment of everything the Old Law pointed to. The Law was merely a ****shadow **of things to come.

He was the Lamb of God (Paschal Lamb) who took upon himself the sins of the world (John 1:29). Not only did Jesus baptize (John 3:22), he commissioned his Apostles to do the same to the world in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
This is ho
John 3:5, he told the Pharisee and ruler of the Jews, Nicodemus, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit." (Baptism). Whereas John’s was a baptism of repentance, Jesus’ Baptism was one of repentance and new spiritual life.

Tell me something, Ben – if you think that Jesus didn’t come to change anything, please tell me why he told the apostles to eat HIS body and drink HIS blood (Matt 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20). Please show me WHERE those words are found in the Jewish Passover meal. Besides, drinking blood goes against the Mosaic Law (Lev. 3:17; 7:26; 17:10,14)

Let’s not forget the Bread of Life discourse in John 6:30-71, where Jesus repeatedly tells his followers that they MUST eat his flesh and drink his blood in order to obtain eternal life.

Nice try – but you can’t twist the words and meaning of the New Testament before an informed Christian . . .

**Was Jesus a Jew? Yes, he was. Was John a Jew? Yes, he was. Everything you quote above is not Jewish. Therefore, all non-Jewish interpolations with the purpose to document the Church. **

**You forget that you are talking about Jewish folks, and trying to insert non-Jewish Hellenistic ideas into Judaism. Everything you have said above are Church fabrications in order to document the Church of Paul. If you tried this with Islam you would be in big trouble, given the character of Islam. **

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit