THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
As He grew in wisdom, realizing more and more firmly His mission from His FATHER, He came to the point where His FATHER’s desire was to make His mission official. And so He came to John the Baptist to be baptized.
“Jesus’ baptism inaugurates his ministry and fulfills God’s saving activity prophesied throughout the OT.”1 “[J]esus as God’s Son is confirmed: at his baptism by a voice from heaven and his anointing by the Spirit.”2
“When he went to be baptized, says John, ‘I have need to be baptized of you, and come you to me?’ (Matt 3:14-15); as if he had said, ‘You have no need at all of it.’ But says Christ, ‘Suffer it to be so, now; for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness.’”3
Christ was here identifying Himself with sinners. He will ultimately bear their sins; His perfect righteousness will be imputed to them. This act of baptism was a necessary part of the righteousness He secured for sinners. This first public event of His ministry is also rich in meaning: (1) it pictured His death and resurrection; (2) it therefore prefigured the significance of Christian baptism; (3) it marked His first public identification with those whose sins He would bear; and (4) it was a public affirmation of His messiahship by testimony directly from heaven.4
The festivals and seasons of the Christian year (or liturgical calendar) offer a way to order the annual life of the church according to the life of Christ and the events of salvation history. At this festival of the Christian year, we not only remember Jesus’ baptism, but we celebrate our own: the baptism we share with Christ.5
“Jesus identifies with the sinful people he came to save through his substitutionary life and death.”6
“[A]ll who have been baptized into Christ were baptized into his 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” (Rom 6:3-4 ESV).
[B]aptism is understood as an acting out of faith. Baptism dramatically portrays what happened spiritually when you received Christ: Your old self of unbelief and rebellion and idolatry died, and a new you of faith and submission and treasuring Christ came into being.7
“On this day, we celebrate not only Jesus’ baptism but ours as well, for our baptism is rooted in Christ. Baptism joins us to Christ and his church, and with all of the baptized we are called to share in Jesus’ ministry.”8
(8) JESUS CHRIST Submitted to Baptism
1. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1825.
2. ESV Study Bible 1953.
3. John Owen, Communion with the Triune God (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2007) 296.
4. John MacArthur, One Perfect Life (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2012) 72.
5. “Baptism of the Lord”, Presbyterian Mission Agency, 3 July 2021 https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/baptism-lord/.
6. ESV Study Bible, English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2001, ESV Text Edition: 2011) 1825.
7. John Piper, “What is Baptism and How Important is it?” 20 July 2008 desiringGod, 2 February 2021 https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/what-is-baptism-and-how-important-is-it.
8. “Baptism of the Lord”, Presbyterian Mission Agency, 3 July 2021 https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/worship/christianyear/baptism-lord/.
9. Wakefield, quoted in “Commentary on Matthew 3:15,” 1832, The Adam Clarke Commentary, 2 February 2021 https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/acc/matthew-3.html.
10. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Cor 5:21 ESV).
11. “You shall . . . praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you” (Joel 2:26 ESV).
12. “. . . those whom he predestined he also called . . .” (Romans 8:30 ESV).
13. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh . . .” (Joel 2:28 ESV).
14. “John answered . . . He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Luke 3:16 ESV).
15. “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” (Romans 6:3 ESV).
16. “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin” (Romans 6:6 ESV).
17. “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 6:4 ESV).