- Matthew 3:11-17
Matthew 3:11 – 17 (ESV) – Why was Jesus baptized and why was it important to us
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
1) Jesus’ baptism was an act of obedience to His Father and gave approval to John’s ministry.
Jesus was not baptized because He was a repentant sinner. Even John tried to stop Jesus, but the Lord knew it was His Father’s will. Jesus modeled obedience. In His baptism He acknowledged that John’s standard of righteousness was valid and in action affirmed it as the will of God to which men are to be subject. He assured John that in this way it is fitting, and went on to explain to John that His baptism was important for both of their ministries, for us to fulfill all righteousness. For God’s plan to be perfectly fulfilled, it was necessary for Jesus to be baptized and to be baptized specifically by John. (Matt. 3:15)
2) Jesus identified with us (publicans and sinners), the very people He came to save.
Jesus came into the world to identify with men; and to identify with men is to identify with sin. He could not purchase righteousness for mankind if He did not identify with mankind’s sin. Hundreds of years before Christ’s coming, Isaiah had declared that the Messiah “was numbered with the transgressors; yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12). Jesus’ baptism also represented the willing identification of the sinless Son of God with the sinful people He came to save. (Luke 19:10)
3) Jesus’ baptism was a symbol of His death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus’ baptism not only was a symbol of His identity with sinners, but was also a symbol of His death, burial and resurrection, and therefore an example of Christian baptism. Jesus made only two other references to personal baptism, and each related to His death. (Mark 10:38; Luke 12:50) Not long before His final trip to Jerusalem He told His disciples: “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!” Luke 12:50 (ESV)