I heard a question a while back asking why Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan. If baptism represents a forgiveness of sin, and Jesus was sinless, why would that be necessary? Why would Jesus insist that He be baptized when John stated that he was unworthy? (Matthew 3:14) John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” People understand that baptism represents forgiveness but forget it also represents new life with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit through acceptance of Jesus. (Romans 6:4) We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. With that thought in mind we can look into why Jesus wanted to be baptized.
- To Glorify God, who opened the sky and spoke in acknowledgment of His son
- To pass the torch from John the Baptist who came to set the table for the arrival of the Messiah
- To submit Himself and stand shoulder to shoulder with the sinners He was going to lead out of death and eventually lay down His life for
- To represent the beginning of His ministry, His ordination by the Holy Spirit of God
What if Jesus was baptized in order to begin His discipleship of man? Part of discipleship is living a life that someone can come along side and imitate in order to grow in the Spirit. The humility of God’s Word made flesh, God in the flesh, allowed Him to become like us as an example. God’s love allowed this to happen. The baptism of Jesus wasn’t about His sin, it was about His humble love and the beginning of the Gospel that would echo through time as He drew the children of God into reconciliation with the Father.
(Philippians 2:8) And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient