Summary: It didn't just happen. Jesus sought out John and traveled a good distance for no other purpose than to be baptized. So why did Jesus want to be baptized?
(1) Jesus Baptized
Water baptism does not save you, but every believer should be baptized, because Jesus, Himself, commanded it. He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19) It was so important to Jesus that He went to John the Baptist to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. All four of the Gospels tell about His baptism.
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. (Matthew 3:13)
It didn’t just happen. Jesus sought out John and traveled a good distance for no other purpose than to be baptized. So why did Jesus want to be baptized?
But John tried to deter him, saying, “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.” Then John consented. (Matthew 3:14-15)
Why was Jesus baptized? There were several reasons, but Jesus in His reply to John gave the best one, “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” He was identifying Himself with sinful mankind, “…..Because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:12) He was not baptized to give us an example to follow. He did not need to repent. He was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. He was baptized to completely identify Himself with mankind.
The second reason for His baptism is that water baptism is symbolic of His death. Christ’s death was a baptism. He entered into death for you and for me. When James and John argued about who would set on His right side and on His left side in the Kingdom, Jesus said, “Are you able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Matthew 20:22, KJV) He was of coarse talking about His death.
There is a third reason for Jesus’ baptism; baptism identifies us with Jesus Christ. Let me give a little more explanation. Our sin is put on Him, not in Him. That is an important distinction. Being identified with Him saves you and me. He identified Himself with us in baptism. To be saved is to be in Christ, and how do we get in Christ-by the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We must recognize that we have to be identified with Christ, and that is accomplished by the Holy Spirit. Our water baptism is a testimony to this. Now let me back up a step. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ, but at that moment the Holy Spirit baptizes us into the body of Christ.
There are a lot of arguments going on today concerning baptism; such as what is the proper mode and what is its relevance. I don’t want to get involved in an argument, so I will just make my opinions known and leave the arguing to the theologians.
As soon as Jesus was baptized, He went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)