by Terry Wane Benton
Jesus had no sins, and John was baptizing people who needed their sins washed away. When Jesus requested that John baptize Him, John "tried to prevent Him, saying, "I have need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" Baptism is for sinners who want their sins remitted, and Jesus was not a sinner.
Yet, there was another purpose associated with John's baptism, and Jesus wanted to do it "to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:13-15). It was "right" to openly desire identification with the will of God. And, it was at the moment of Jesus' baptism that God openly called Jesus His Son "in Whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:16-17). While Jesus was not baptized "for remission of sins," He was baptized to fill the order of what was right. Jesus felt it would be unrighteous or wrong to not be baptized.
Now, the Law of Moses did not require it. But, the Old Testament did prophesy of a "forerunner" who would say "Prepare the way of the Lord" (Matthew 3:3 quoting from Isaiah 40:3). So, John was the voice that was calling for people to get their hearts ready for the Lord, and Jesus was the One that could give them the remission of sins that they desired. If baptism is now in the preparation stage, introduced by John, it was right for Jesus to validate this process by showing His own open approval to what John was doing. By submitting, God was pleased to openly validate Jesus.
After Jesus died on the cross for the remission of our sins, He commanded that all nations become His disciples by being baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). Remission of sins was now fully available to all, and the way to obtain it was through the authority of Jesus. He said we can become His disciples in this process. Marks' account says, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" (Mark 16:16). Luke's account says that "repentance and remission of sins" were "in His name" (Luke 24:47). Paul said that we are sons of God through faith in Jesus, "for as many as are baptized into Christ, have put on Christ"(Galatians 3:26-27). In other words, as God acknowledge Jesus as His "beloved Son" when Jesus was baptized, it is likewise the moment that we are entering into the relationship with Jesus and putting on the garments of righteousness in Him. It is at this moment that God acknowledges us as His children.
Have you been baptized into Christ?