Q&A: Muhammad and the Baptism of Jesus - Matthew 3:11

Muhammad and the Baptism of Jesus - Matthew 3:11

Question

Islam claims that John the Baptist did not baptize Jesus because John the Baptist did not follow him after baptism. Is this true?

Answer

Matthew 3:11 "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Islam claims that John the Baptist did not baptize Jesus because John the Baptist did not follow him after baptism. According to Baagil, the person referred to by John the Baptist could not be Jesus because John did not become his disciple. Therefore, they argue that there had to be a greater prophet after Jesus - Muhammad.

First, besides the fact that Muhammad would not live for another 600 years, John the Baptist had a specific mission from God. He was to "prepare the way" for Christ and thus fulfill the Scripture:

Matthew 3:1-3 In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near." This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah: "A voice of one calling in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.'"

Isaiah 40:3 A voice of one calling: "In the wilderness prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God."

He was not to be a disciple, but rather to prepare the way for Christ.

Second, John was imprisoned shortly after Jesus' ministry began. Jesus confirmed to him who he was, saying:

Luke 7:18-23 John's disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?" When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?'" At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me."

Did you see what Jesus said? There is no one else AFTER him! "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). "All the prophets testify about him [Jesus] that everyone who believes in him [Jesus] receives forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:43). As Paul writes, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5). As Jesus says, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). Jesus says, he is THE WAY, not Muhammad, or anyone else. Jesus says, he is THE TRUTH, not Islam or any other religion. Jesus says, he is THE LIFE, that is, fullness of life. And since we have fullness of life in Christ, why would we seek any other? No one comes to the Father except through Christ!

Please see Christianity and Islam Contrasted.

Reference

Baagil H. M., Muslim-Christian Dialogue, (Islamic Propagation Centre International - UK), Birmingham, UK, 1984.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).