The Baptism Of The Lord
Posted by james0235 on January 13, 2008
Why was the Lord baptized? John’s baptism was “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3) so it could not actually forgive sins. And even if it could forgive sins, Jesus was the lamb of God who takes away sins (John 1:29). He had no need of forgiveness. So, why was Jesus baptized?
The Lord Himself gives us the answer to that question: “to fulfill all righteousness.” (Matthew 3:15).
Righteousness is doing the will of God. Jesus is fulfilling all righteousness by obedience to His role in God’s plan of salvation.
In the Old Covenant is was necessary for the High Priest to wash himself with water:
For ablutions you shall make a bronze laver with a bronze base. Place it between the meeting tent and the altar, and put water in it. Aaron and his sons shall use it in washing their hands and feet. When they are about to enter the meeting tent, they must wash with water, lest they die. Likewise when they approach the altar in their ministry, to offer an oblation to the LORD, they must wash their hands and feet, lest they die. (Exodus 30:18-21)
And likewise in the Old Covenant it was necessary that the High Priest be anointed:
With this sacred anointing oil you shall anoint the meeting tent and the ark of the commandments, the table and all its appurtenances, the lampstand and its appurtenances, the altar of incense and the altar of holocausts with all its appurtenances, and the laver with its base. When you have consecrated them, they shall be most sacred; whatever touches them shall be sacred. Aaron and his sons you shall also anoint and consecrate as my priests. (Exodus 30:26-30)
I believe that these passages from Exodus concerning the High Priest of the Old Covenant help to explain why Jesus was baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” Jesus said to him in reply, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed him. After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened (for him), and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove (and) coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:13-17)
Jesus, the eternal High Priest (Hebrews 6:20) of the New Covenant (Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25), is washed with water and anointed with the Holy Spirit at His Baptism thus becoming the Messiah – the Christ – The Anointed One. In doing so he fulfills all righteousness by doing the Holy will of His Father.