Why Jesus was Baptised & Why it Matters
Okay – so have you ever wondered why Jesus was baptised? A perfect Jesus who has never sinned, who then submits to John the Baptist’s baptism of repentance.
At first, it doesn’t make sense … that is until we realise that God is saying something really, really important to us through this one, powerful act of submission by the Son of God.
The Problem with Authority …
Deep down, most of us struggle with authority from time to time.
Authority’s fine, until you disagree with the person in authority. It’s fine having a boss at work until you want to go in this direction – when she wants you to go in that direction. And so we have our little silent protests. We resist. We pout. We undermine. We back stab. And eventually, it breaks out into open warfare.
Because our base position is – I’m right and she’s wrong. I’m always right!! It’s my way or the highway!!
Now we have a problem. We struggle, we complain, we become demotivated.
Sound vaguely familiar??
So what’s Jesus’ take on authority?
Now these days, we kind of understand what baptism is. It’s an outward sign that we’ve died to self and risen to Christ. It’s a public expression of our faith in Jesus.
But back then, the only people who were baptised were proselytes – these were people who weren’t born as Israelites, God’s chosen people, but who had put their faith in the God of Israel. It was a sign that even though they weren’t Jewish by birth, they had become one of God’s people through faith in Him and that they would submit to the authority of the law of Moses.
Yet John the Baptist wasn’t baptising proselytes. He’d been out in the wilderness baptising Jews. Why?
Because God’s people had strayed and so John’s baptism was a sign of repentance, of turning away from their sins and back to their God. A re-committal to God – a bit like a couple renewing their marriage vows, if that makes sense.
So Johnno was right to protest:
Hang on Jesus what are you doing? You’re the Messiah, your Him! What am I doing baptising you for crying out loud. If anything it should be the other way around!
And Jesus’ answer?
Let it be so for now – for it is proper in this way to fulfil all righteousness.
So the Point is?
Why did Jesus submit to John’s Baptism, the baptism of repentance, even though as the one man who had never, ever sinned, He had nothing to repent from?
Because this was the single most public, most visible thing He could do to declare His submission to God, through the law of Moses. He wanted the world to know that He, although the Son of God, fully submitted, fully placed Himself under the authority of the Word of God.
Jesus had come to die for us – the perfect sacrifice so that you and I could become the perfect righteousness of God; so that you and I when we put our faith in Him, could have a complete, perfect and forever right-standing before God.
And His very first step on that journey was an act of humble submission to fulfil righteousness, to fulfil the law rather than to destroy it. That’s a powerful truth!
So … how did His Dad in heaven react? What was God the Father’s response?
What an endorsement!
Imagine for a minute that you and I lived our lives for that; for God’s endorsement. To please Him. To delight Him by humbling ourselves; by putting our lives under His mighty hand in complete submission. By heeding His voice. By loving Him. By obeying Him.
Imagine if that’s the first thing we did – the very first thing – before stepping out into what God has planned for our lives.
Just imagine the impact our lives would have.
Not such a bad first step … into an extraordinary life, eh?