By Jeff Smith

Has this question ever puzzled you? Have you ever thought about why Jesus came to John to be immersed? As religious folk, if we denied the necessity of water baptism for salvation (like most of the religious world), this question would be moot and a waste of time. However, since we are Bible believers, and since the Bible clearly teaches the necessity of water baptism for one’s salvation (cp. 1 Pet. 3:21; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38), this question is an important one to consider.

What Was The Purpose For John’s Baptism?

Succinctly stated, John’s baptism was “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (Mk. 1:4). Since he came as the forerunner for the Messiah, he was to blaze the trail for Christ whose gospel would later preach baptism for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).

Did Jesus Need To Have Sins Remitted?

Obviously not if we properly understand passages like Isa. 53:9, 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15, and 1 Pet. 2:22. Jesus lived the sinless life on earth and was never in need of having sins remitted in the act of baptism.

Why, Then, Was Jesus Baptized?

The only Biblical reason we have is found in Jesus’ own words to John when He was baptized. In Mt. 3:15, Jesus had to convince John to baptize Him “in order to fulfill all righteousness.” We must remember that later on, Jesus placed a high credibility on John’s baptism in refuting the chief priests and Jewish elders (Mt. 21:25). Because these Jews had rejected it, they had, in effect, rejected God’s will. How could Jesus refuse to accept what He would later expect all others to do? Even though He didn’t need the outcome of John’s baptism (remission), He did need to comply with His Father’s “righteous” plan. A failure to be baptized would have made His later condemnation of the Jews very hollow and hypocritical.

Being the pure Son of God, what else would a faithful son do but obey the Father? Therefore, He sets the perfect example of submitting to the Father’s plan for the salvation of all mankind.

Have you been baptized? Jesus was to “fulfill all righteousness.” Won’t you do the same?


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