Here’s why…culturally, the Jewish people also had something like baptism in their tradition. When a person determined to become a Jew, they would have to go through a ritual cleaning. For the Jews, being ritually clean is really important. Here’s just a glimpse of why…in ancient Israel, water was often used as an instrument for purification (e.g., Lev 17:15; 22:4–6; Num 19:11–12). In order to become an Israelite Jew, one needed to be clean because their faith instructed them on what was and was not clean, which could be a whole other sermon. For our purposes, I am telling you all this so that we are all coming at this story from the perspective of what John’s role is according to Mark. So, by contrast to the Jewish ideology of baptism, John’s baptism stressed transformation, and that transformation represented a turning from sin and marked a turning point in a person’s life. It wasn’t about being clean on the outside but rather spiritually clean. It also made everyone equal because he was calling everyone to be baptize, Jew and Gentile. That meant that there was no separation of who you were or where you were on life’s journey, John’s baptism was for everyone and represented the same thing for all.