Friday, April 27, 2018

The Baptism of Jesus

"When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too" (Luke 3:21).

If John’s baptism was for repentance of sin, and Jesus was sinless, then why was Jesus baptized? This is a question with which many people struggle. Not only have theologians throughout church history wrestled with this problem, but John the Baptist was worried about it as well. In Matthew 3:14 we read that John said to Jesus, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15). What was Jesus saying? He was saying, “John, bear with Me. I have a mission to perform, and this is something we need to do.”

What did Jesus mean by “fulfill all righteousness”? As the Messiah, the sin-bearer, it was necessary for Him to fulfill the law of God in every detail. There are two dimensions to this. First, Jesus identified with the sin of His people. He was the Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of the world. As He was going to bear their sins, He had to enter into their world and walk among them.

Second, Jesus had to keep God’s law perfectly so His obedience could be credited to our account. Jesus not only died for our sins, but He also lived a perfect life so that we could be given a new life. Therefore Jesus was saying to John, “I have to fulfill all the requirements of the Old Testament law, even if that law was given to fallen sinners. Still, these are God’s requirements, and if I am going to fulfill the law of God, I have to do it all.”

Luke goes on to say that “as He was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased’ ” (Luke 3:21–22). The coming of the Spirit on Jesus was an anointing that began His public ministry.

Do you recall the joy of pleasing your earthly father? What would you give to hear your heavenly Father say, “With you I am well pleased”? Today and this weekend, consider whether you are motivated by primarily pleasing God, or by pleasing yourself.