What right do you have to baptize?

Then the Pharisees who had been sent asked him, “If you aren’t the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet, what right do you have to baptize?” [John 1:24-25 NLT]

I go to a church where one needs to be ordained by the denomination to baptize. Many denominations have such sacramental requirements. These, like the Pharisees, often see baptism, and other religious rites, as ones that need to be done by people who are submitted to their authority.

While I understand the reasons that such groups think this way I simply disagree with their view. John was called by God to baptize. Neither he, Jesus nor any of the early disciples needed earthly permission to baptize. In like manner believers today, when called upon by God, should obey God rather than men.

In balance, I suggest to you that the authority of religious groups is not something to be taken lightly. Neither should the ministries of the Baptist or Jesus be used to excuse rebellious behaviors. Anything we do in the name of God should be done with much humility. Any authority we have is a gift from God.

Help us to be open to the opportunities before us Lord. Grant us the boldness and humility to obey you.

... this devotion is part of a series about John the Baptist.

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