John the Baptist preached a message of repentance and forgiveness. His purpose was to be the forerunner for the Savior of the world who was Jesus. Jesus, however, went to John for him to baptize Him. Jesus neither needed forgiveness nor to repent. So, what was the significance of the baptism of Jesus?
After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. Matthew 3:16
Initially, John didn’t want to baptize the Lord. He understood his God-given role and also who Jesus was. Look at the conversation these two cousins had.
Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” Matthew 3:13-14
When Jesus answered, John was satisfied with it.
But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. Matthew 3:15
He said, “we need to carry out all that God requires.” After looking at multiple sources, I have determined that commentators really don’t know what that statement means. I settled on the following definition from an organization called Following Jesus.
“The Lord Jesus was not only the eternal Son of God but also the sinless Son of Man, and His very act of baptism by this ‘Voice, crying in the wilderness’ commended, authenticated and approved John’s God-given office before this generation of vipers – a nation that was once again being called to repent of their sins and turn back to their God.”– Following Jesus
The Baptism of Jesus had Significance for Us
We must also look at this action from Jesus’ side as well. His Father publically recognized His Son and confirming the joy He had in Him.
And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.” Matthew 3:17
Directly after His baptism, Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Spirit for 40 days. It was during that time that He was also tempted by the devil.
I think we can safely say the Father publically declared who Jesus was after His baptism. Later in chapter 4, we are told that He began to minister.
From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” Matthew 4:17
His action was also an example for us as well. Namely when we repent of our sins and turn our lives to the Lord. We are then directed to become baptized. Which is a public symbol of us dying to our sins and receiving new life in Christ.
So let me encourage you to get baptized if you haven’t done it yet. Just like Jesus told John, It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.
Lord, thank you for the examples that Jesus demonstrated for us. I pray for those who haven’t been baptized. May they follow your mandate to make a public declaration of their new life in Christ through baptism.
For more on discipleship, check out the cornerstone blog on the subject called How To Be An Effective Devoted Disciple Of Jesus.
Read Matthew 3 here.
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