Why Was Jesus Baptized?" /> Why Was Jesus Baptized?" /> Why Was Jesus Baptized?" />

The Baptism of Christ  Why?

Why did the Lord Jesus come to the Jordan River unto John (Matthew 3:13)? 
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him


John’s baptism was a "baptism of repentance" (Acts 13:24; compare Matthew 3:2,8,11).


Did Jesus need to repent? No.  Only sinners need to repent.

When a Jew was baptized by John, what did he do according to Matthew 3:6? they 
were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.


Was it possible for Jesus to do this? No.   A person cannot confess his sins if he does not have any! The Bible declares that the Lord Jesus was absolutely SINLESS. Please match:

Luke 23:4,14. ______ He did no sin.
Luke 23:41. ______ He did nothing amiss or wrong.
2 Cor 5:21. ______ He knew no sin.
Hebrews 4: 15 ______ He was without sin.
Hebrews 7: 26 ______ He was God’s sinless and spotless Lamb.
1 Peter 1:19 ______ He was holy, undefiled and separate from sinners.
1 Peter 2:22 ______ He was faultless.

Will the believer ever reach a point in this life where he does not have any sin and therefore does not need confession (1 John 1:8-10)? No,  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

If the Lord Jesus Christ did not need to repent and had no sins to confess, then why did He come forward to be baptized by John? Apparently John asked the same question, because when Jesus came to him he tried to prevent (forbid, hinder, restrain) Him from being baptized, saying, "I have need to be baptized by Thee, and comest Thou to me?" (Matthew 3:14). In other words, John was saying, "I’m the one who needs this, not You! You should be the Baptizer, not me. Why should the sinner baptize the Saviour?"  Thus, John made every effort to hinder Jesus from being baptized.

Today, what hinders a person from being baptized (see Acts 8:35-39)? 
 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.  Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?” Then Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” And he answered and said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.  Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.

Notice how the Lord answered John: "Suffer it (allow it, permit it, let it be, don’t forbid it) to be so now: for thus it becometh (it is fitting, proper, right) us (Jesus and John) to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15). Even though Jesus was sinless and had no need of repentance, being baptized by John was the RIGHT thing to do, and John permitted Him (Matthew 3:15).

Why was it right for the sinless Savior to submit to a baptism that was intended and purposed for sinners? What was Christ’s purpose for coming into the world (Matthew 1:21; Luke 5:30-32; 19:10; John 3:17; 1 Timothy 1:15)?  Answer: To save lost people from their sins


Therefore, it was proper and right for the Savior at the beginning of His public ministry to IDENTIFY WITH THOSE HE CAME TO SAVE. This is the scriptural meaning of baptism, ie...identification. He humbled Himself and was willing to associate and identify with sinners, though He Himself knew no sin. He was willing to stand in the place of sinners and to put Himself alongside of all the sinful ones for whom John’s baptism was designed.

The prophet Isaiah predicted that the Messiah would be "numbered with the transgressors" (Isaiah 53:12). The New Testament teaches that "in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren." (Hebrews 2:17). Though sinless, He was able to sympathize with His brethren in their struggle with sin: He was "in all points temped like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). God sent His own Son "in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us" (Romans 8:3-4).

Not only at His baptism, but throughout His public ministry, the compassionate Lord Jesus identified and associated with those He had come to redeem. The self-righteous Pharisees strongly criticized the righteous Christ because of such associations. Consider these passages:

1. Luke 5:27-32.   What was the reaction of the scribes and Pharisees?

2. Luke 7:36-50.  What was the reaction of Simon the Pharisee?

3. Luke 15:1-2.  What was the reaction of the Pharisees and scribes? Does this help you understand why Christ told them the parable of the lost sheep, lost coin and lost son?

4. Luke 19:1-10.  What was the reaction of the people (v.7)?

5. LUKE 7:29-35.   What did the Pharisees and lawyers think of John’s baptism? Were they baptized by John? (No) Would it have been RIGHT for Jesus to refuse John’s baptism, just like the self-righteous Pharisees? (No)The Pharisees said (compare Luke 7:30), "Don’t permit us to be baptized, for we are righteous!"  [They were SELF-RIGHTEOUS.]

The tax collectors and sinners said (by being baptized) (compare Luke 7:29), "Permit us to be baptized, for God is righteous and we are sinful."

Jesus said (compare Matthew 3:15), "Permit Me to be baptized, for it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness."

When John pointed out Christ to the people, he said, "Behold the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29). Thus, John understood two important facts about Christ: 1) He was sinless (God’s spotless Lamb–compare 1 Peter 1:19); 2) He would identify with "the sins of the world.

About three and a half years after His baptism, Christ would experience yet another baptism (see Matthew 20:22-23; Luke 12:50) where He would even more fully identify with sinners: Take note that the word "baptism" means "identification" or more directly "immersion". Consider:

The Baptism Of Jesus At The River Jordan
The Baptism Of Jesus At The Cross

1) Christ should not have been baptized (Matthew 3:14). He was sinless and perfectly righteous.

2) Christ should not have gone to the cross (1 Peter 3:18). He was the Just
and Righteous One.  He was not guilty.

3) He was not a sinner. (1 Peter 2:22-24).
4) He did not deserve this baptism. He did not deserve this death (Luke 23:40-41).

5) He submitted to the baptism and stood in the sinner’s place. He submitted to the death of a cross and stood in the sinner's place (Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 5:21). In this baptism, Jesus symbolically identified with sinners. In this baptism, he became sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21)...ie....He became a sin (offering) for us.


When did Jesus actually take upon Himself the sin and guilt of the human race, at John’s baptism or at the cross (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18)? (The cross)

We know that the Lord Jesus was with sinners, ate with sinners and was touched by sinners (Luke 7:37-38), but the Bible says that He was "separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26). How can a believer be with sinners and at the same time be separate from sinners? When is it wrong to associate with sinners (Proverbs 1:10-19; 2:10-22; 4:14-19; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17; Ephesians 5:11-13)?  (no fellowship with their evil works, no unequal yokes, walk their path, cast your lot with them, their talk, their seductions)

Check what your responsibility should be toward the sinner (your unsaved friends, neighbors, etc.):

___Love them and have compassion on them (Matthew 5:44-48; Romans 10:1).

___Follow their advice (Psalm 1:1).

___Follow their example (3 John 11).

___Follow their ways (Proverbs 4:14).

___Seek their salvation (1 Corinthians 10:33).


___Show a friendliness and a genuine interest and concern (1 Corinthians 9:19-22).

___Become their close associate and companion (Psalm 119:63).

___Isolate yourself from them (John 17:15; 1 Cor. 5:10).

___Separate yourself from them (Heb. 7:26; 2 Cor. 6:17).

What is the difference between ISOLATION and SEPARATION?

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

The baptism of Jesus illustrated our Lord’s desire to identify Himself with those He came to save, but it was important for these additional reasons as well (adapted from J. Oswald Sanders, The Incomparable Christ):


About how old was Jesus at this time (Luke 3:22-23)?  Thirty. Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee (Mark 1:9) to be baptized, thus leaving His home town, His family, His occupation and His privacy.


The Bible tells us very little about the first 30 years of Jesus’ life. The gospel accounts concentrate on the last three and a half years (the years of public ministry) and especially on the final week of our Lord’s earthly life. Yet God the Father summed up those many years in one sentence: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17). The first 30 years of His life entailed the same daily routines that so often face us. Yet He handled those ordinary assignments so gladly, so beautifully, and with such consecration that His heavenly Father could exclaim with joy, "I AM WELL PLEASED!"


The descent of the Spirit upon Christ at His baptism was God’s sign to John that this was indeed the Messiah: "He that sent me to baptize with water, the Same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Spirit" (John 1:33-34).



Christ’s dependence upon the Spirit of God characterized His entire ministry. We learn from Acts 10:38 that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit, Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him" (see verse 37). Did the Old Testament predict that Messiah would be anointed by the Spirit (Isaiah 42:1; 61:1-2; compare Isaiah 11:1-2)? (yes!)


Please complete the following sentences correctly, using the appropriate Person of the Trinity:

The Father    The Incarnate Son    The Spirit

The SON stands in the waters of Jordan, identifying Himself with sinful humanity. The FATHER opens heaven to voice His approval of His Son whom He had selected for this task. The HOLY SPIRIT descends from heaven to empower the Son to fulfill the purpose of the Father"--J. Oswald Sanders, The Incomparable Christ, p.55.



used by pemission and adapted (middletownbiblechurch.org)