Why this is important: I am not immune to competing for my spiritual faction (aka denomination). I think it is best. I think Jesus cares. I am wrong. John the Baptizer is still baptizing. Jesus, as a part of His ministry, is starting to baptize as well.
John’s disciples got into an argument with the establishment Jews over the nature of baptism. They came to John and said, “Rabbi, you know the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan? The one you authorized with your witness? Well, he’s now competing with us. He’s baptizing, too, and everyone’s going to him instead of us.”
Jesus realized that the Pharisees were keeping count of the baptisms that he and John performed (although his disciples, not Jesus, did the actual baptizing). They had posted the score that Jesus was ahead, turning him and John into rivals in the eyes of the people. So Jesus left the Judean countryside and went back to Galilee.
John is not upset. John is incredibly happy. John knows that Jesus is the Messiah. John knows that Jesus is the Son of God, who has come to earth. John knows where the message of Jesus comes from.
The One who comes from above is head and shoulders over other messengers from God. The earthborn is earthbound and speaks earth language; the heaven born is in a league of his own. He [Jesus] sets out the evidence of what he saw and heard in heaven. No one wants to deal with these facts. But anyone who examines this evidence will come to stake his life on this: that God himself is the truth.
John 3:31-33 (The Message Bible)
Imagine being baptized by Jesus disciples. What a stunning experience that must have been.
As for me [John], I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
Matthew 3:11 (NASB)
God’s goal: God wants us to be completely immersed in the Holy Spirit. That will set us on fire. There we go. That is some very good news. WOW! The Holy Spirit and FIRE! Are we on fire for Jesus?