The Baptism of Christ

Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-23). When Jesus came for baptism, John
tried to deter Him. John recognized the righteous One and that he was unworthy to baptize Him. So why
did Jesus seek to be baptized? Not for confession and pardon, for He was sinless. Not simply to
encourage John’s work and set an example for others. Not as our substitute, for His disciples were
baptized. He was baptized to provide a public mode of announcement that the fact the Messiah had come
as well as to consecrate Himself to His Messianic work by this kind of ordination (Acts 1:21-22; 10:3738).
All priests in the Israel were inducted into office by baptism (Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 16:4).
Inasmuch as Christ was to be a priest (Hebrews 5:6) some think it was proper that He should enter by this
door, thus fulfilling ceremonial righteousness. However, Jesus was a priest after the order of Melchizedek
(Psalm 110:4), not Aaron.

The commencement of a new course of life was the element which His and other people’s baptism had in
common. In the case of the people it prepared them to receive pardon, in the case of Jesus, to bestow it.
He identified Himself with sinners for whom He came to save. Throughout His life, Jesus fulfilled the
Law that He might redeem them that were under the Law (Galatians 4:4). His baptism was “to fulfill all
righteousness.” Jesus was consecrated to God and acceptable to Him for service as demonstrated by the
opened heavens, the Holy Spirit descending like a dove upon Him and the voice from heaven. This
confirmed to John the true identity of Jesus and gives a beautiful picture of the Trinity.

Jesus’ baptism was an act of identification, authentication, manifestation, and dedication to the will of
God (Hebrews 10:7-9). It also was the commencement of His messianic office and ministry. “God
anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and . . . he went around doing good and
healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him” (Acts 10:38).

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