John 4:2 shares an interesting side note stating, “Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples.”
Why didn’t Jesus perform the act of baptizing himself? Certainly he wasn’t too lazy. And honestly, I don’t’ think he had a major theological reason. In fact, I believe he could have don’t he baptizing himself, but chose not to. Why?
Perhaps it was a simple function of discipleship in which Jesus was giving his men “hands on” work in the ministry. He was helping them get involved.
At the same time, it was painting a bigger picture of how life-long ministry under Christ was to be lived out: The disciples exerted human strength under the authority of Christ’s power.
In other words, this set the pattern for a lifetime of ministry. The apostles would have to “work heartily, as for the Lord” in all things (Col. 3:23).
This sets an example for us as servants of Christ and leaders of others.
- As servants, we must always remember that Christ is the ultimate authority we labor for –not our employer or pastor.
- As leaders, we must not let our ego’s get in the way. We must make sure those under our charge have a clear line-of-view to Christ’s authority over us.
- As servants, we must be ready to perform any task as unto the Lord.
- As leaders, we must be willing to let go of some control issues and allow those under our charge to gain ministry experience by helping us. (especially for us control freaks)
Ultimately, the issue of who baptized was not a right or wrong issue as much as an opportunity to train others for the work of ministry (Eph. 4:12). Can you imagine Jesus patiently holding his tongue as the apostles were trying to figure out how to keep water from going up people’s noses or to keep from dropping people to the bottom of the Jordan River? It takes patience and intentionality.
I don’t know about you, but I’m so thankful for the people in my life that gave me opportunities to serve in my church and in other ministries. Looking back, I know they could have done a much better job than I did –and many times, they may have wondered why they ever let me take part (or take apart!).
However, it was in those moments of serving –no matter the result at the time- that I learned so much about serving Christ and living under his authority.
So, no matter your role –employer, parent, pastor, etc- consider giving someone an opportunity to serve under you today. And don’t get too upset if it isn’t done to “your standards.” Remember, it’s a learning moment. The most important thing you can do is to gently point them to serve –not as if they are serving you- but as unto the Lord.