Some wonder why did the sinless Jesus ask John to baptize Him when John was preaching the baptism of repentance? (Matthew 3:11). John himself realized his own unworthiness and his own need to be baptized from Jesus: “I need to be baptized by You and You are coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). Jesus answered him saying “it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). It was not proper to baptize Jesus in acknowledgment of personal sins, for He had no sins of which to repent but as our example it was fitting for Him to accept baptism.
It was also fitting for John to baptize Jesus at the beginning of His public ministry as an acknowledgement by His forerunner. John was the “voice crying in the wilderness” prophesied by Isaiah, calling people to repentance in preparation for their Messiah (Isaiah 40:3). And he declared to the nation that the Son of God, the One he had predicted would baptize “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose” (John 1:26,27).
And after the baptism, John announced to all, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is He of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water” (John 1:29-31).
Jesus’ baptism was an example for the sinner to to receive not only forgiveness by also cleansing. His baptism symbolized the sinner’s death and resurrection to the newness of life (2 Corinthians 5:21). The sinner’s sins were counted to Christ, as if they were His, so His righteousness is counted to him as if it was his.
And finally, at the baptism of Jesus, there was a revelation of the unity of the Godhead in their saving work on behalf humanity “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:16,17). The Father loves the world (Ephesians 1:4); He sends His Son to save them (Luke 19:10); and the Spirit convicts of sin (John 16:8) and draws the believer to the Father through the Son.
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In His service,
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