We see Jesus telling Nicodemus in Jn 3: 5:

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. - John 3:5

We also read at Jn 4: 1-2:

Now Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that he was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John (although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples).

One wonders why Jesus did not personally baptize anyone in spite of his having emphasized the importance of Baptism. My question therefore is: Why, according to Catholic Church, did not Jesus personally baptize anyone?

  • That we do not know of any?
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 12, 2021 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


Here are two Bible verses on the subject. One suggests that perhaps Jesus did perform baptism:

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptised (Matthew 3:22).

However, the following Bible verse says it was Jesus’ disciples who did the baptising:

The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptising more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptised, but his disciples (Matthew 4:1).

The Bible does not tell us if Jesus baptised anyone, or why he would not baptise anyone. Perhaps it was to avoid a situation where a person baptised by Jesus would think they were superior to other believers based who had been baptised by a disciple.

An example of this is recorded in 1 Corinthians 1:12-15 where the apostle Paul had cause to rebuke believers who made a big thing out of who had baptised them. Some were quarrelling over who had baptised them, saying they followed Apollos, or Cephas, or Christ.

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptised into the name of Paul?

The important point is not who does the baptising, but being baptised into the name of Christ. Also, John the Baptist predicted that the Messiah would baptise with Holy Spirit and fire, not water:

I baptise you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Matthew 3:11)

Neither Matthew 3:11 nor Matthew 3:14 say if Jesus himself baptised anyone, only that a time would come (after Jesus’ death and resurrection) when he would send the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to empower his followers to spread the gospel message throughout the world. First Corinthians 12:13 says:

We were all baptised by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

  • 1
    This is exactly as I would have answered it (if I weren't so lazy). Jan 14, 2021 at 18:02
  • 2
    In 1 Cor 1:14-16 Paul is so thankful that he had only personally baptised a small handful of people so that people wouldn't be divided. Imagine if people got to brag about being personally baptised by Jesus!
    – curiousdannii
    Jan 15, 2021 at 5:50
  • Great insights, Lesley!
    – Ken Graham
    Jan 15, 2021 at 7:34
  • I hope that a question which draws good answers , also get up-voted. Jan 20, 2021 at 11:05
  • Yes, indeed - I up-voted your question after I answered it. I don't normally answer questions that ask for a Catholic view (because I'm of the Protestant persuasion). But since nobody had answered, and it was not a controversial question, I felt free to respond. Asking good questions is harder than answering them!
    – Lesley
    Jan 20, 2021 at 12:10

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