Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why Did Jesus Get Baptized?

The importance of identification with Christ in obedience to baptism is something even children understand.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” ~Matthew 3:13,14

There are times when we read Scripture and wonder about what was said or done because we do not immediately understand God’s point in it. As we read of the account of the baptism of Jesus, we see that sometimes those people involved in the situation did not fully understand it either. John the Baptist could not understand why Jesus was coming to him to be baptized and pointed out that Jesus should be baptizing him instead. John’s baptism was for confession of sin and repentance and he knew Jesus, the Messiah, was sinless and holy. Why would Jesus, who knew better than anyone else of His own sinlessness, come to John and submit to an act of confession and repentance of sin?

But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. ~Matthew 3:15

Jesus, understanding John’s confusion about why He had come to be baptized, gave an answer He would repeatedly give over the course of His ministry about why He did, what He did. It was to fulfill all righteousness! In other words, to complete, finish off, and verify what was right, good, and true. Jesus was coming to be baptized to fulfill what was written and spoken of by God in the Old Testament about the coming Messiah. Jesus was coming to John in obedience to the Father and identify with the calling and personage of the Messiah Savior!

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; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” ~Matthew 3:16,17

Pastor shared with us this last Sunday all those things Jesus identified Himself with as He submitted to baptism there in the Jordan River, He identified with:

  • Sinners 
  • Sacrifice 
  • The Role of Messiah 
  • God the Father 

Jesus was also being obedient to what was written about Him and His coming. The thing we should take from all of this is what those fifteen individuals understood and participated in at the end of the service, namely submission to the call of their Lord and to follow Him in baptism! Jesus, our Lord and Savior, wants His people to identify themselves with Him and submit in obedience to Him by taking part in baptism.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” ~Matthew 28:18-20

Jesus expects believers, His disciples, to be baptized! Baptism does not save, but it does identify the believer with Jesus in a very public way. It is this initial act of obedience which testifies to those who witness it, that the one being baptized is now in union with Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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. ~Romans 6:3,4

Baptism does not save, but it is a God ordained and God commanded action which believers are to take. There are people who say they are Christians and Born Again, yet will not submit to the command of their Lord and identify themselves publicly with Him in baptism. People give many reasons for their refusal to be baptized, like scheduling constraints, embarrassment, and the difficulties it can cause in relationships with friends and family. This is precisely why we must submit to baptism! If we have truly been saved and love our Savior for what He has done for us, then we will want to tell the world! If however, we find ourselves ashamed of Him and fear being identified with Him in a public way, then we should consider the sobering words of Jesus about this very thing…

And he called to him the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? For what can a man give in return for his life? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” ~Mark 8:34-38

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