Summary: The perfect example of Christ's obediance
The outline for this message came out of the "Preacher's Outline and Sermon Bible."
Our question today is “what is baptism all about? The answer is found in studying Jesus' baptism and John's reaction to Jesus' baptism.
Lets outline our passage this way:
1. The startling request of Jesus: to be baptized (v.13).
2. The humble reaction of John: humility and need (v.14).
3. The godly purpose of Jesus: to fulfill all righteousness (v.15).
4. The unusual signs of Jesus' baptism (v.16-17).
But first lets turn to Mark 1:9
Mark said that Jesus came "from Nazareth of Galilee"
Mark 1:9 (NKJV)
It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
There are a couple of things to notice. The last recorded event of Jesus' childhood was His return to Israel from Egypt. He was only a "young child" at that time. The only other event recorded about Jesus' childhood and early manhood was His sharing with the religious authorities in the temple at age twelve.
Jesus' hometown was Nazareth. He apparently lived there between His return from Egypt until the launch of His ministry when He was about thirty years old. The distance from Galilee to the Jordan river was a long journey on foot. Jesus deliberately chose Jordan as the place to launch His ministry. It was in Jordan that His forerunner, John the Baptist, had been preparing the way for Him.
Many were now waiting "for the consolation of Israel," that is, the coming of the Messiah, And so we begin with Matthew 3:13.
Jesus Christ Baptism: the startling request of Jesus, to be baptized.
Matthew 3:13 (NKJV)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
We should take Note of the words "to be baptized by Him, that is John the Baptist, Jesus came specifically to John to be baptized. Jesus was compelled to be baptized, but not just to be baptized. He was compelled to be baptized by John. He was to identify Himself with John's ministry. He was the Messiah, the Lamb of God, being proclaimed by John.
Why would Jesus want to be baptized? John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance, would the Son of God need the baptism of repentance? The very fact that the Son of God would be baptized seems strange. He was the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Founder of the movement of Christianity. He was the One who was making baptism possible and effectual (working) for man. John's baptism was a call for men to take a stand and to become identified with a life of repentance and righteousness.
Jesus needed no repentance; He was already perfectly righteous.; He was the Purchaser of righteousness, the Ideal Man; His righteousness is the pattern, the very righteousness that could stand for and cover every man. Why then would Jesus be baptized? Very simply, in His own words, "to fulfill all righteousness."
Lets go on to Verse 14 of Matthew 3 to see the humble reaction of John, humility and need.
Matthew 3:14 (NKJV)
And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?"
John argued against Jesus coming to him for baptism, Why? John simply said, "I need to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?" He was saying at least two things:
1. He was not worthy to baptize Christ.
2. Christ's coming to him was too great an honor for him.
He did not deserve the privilege of baptizing the Messiah, the Lamb of God. Turn to Mark 1:7, We should remember the words John spoke concerning his worthiness to carry Jesus sandals or as it says here in Mark 1:7.
Mark 1:7 (NKJV)
And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.
John's humility was most unusual, for John was the great one in the eyes of the people at this time. Multitudes of people were flocking to him; The general public, Tax collectors, Soldiers and the religious elite. He had reached the summit in the public's eye.
He was honored above all by vast numbers of people despite being opposed by religious elite and traditionalists. Yet when Christ approached him, he lowered himself and acknowledged that he was nothing in comparison. He felt that he personally needed the baptism of Christ. He needed what Christ had. Christ was to baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. And John was confessing his need to receive the Holy Spirit and fire from Christ.
Here is the one man who might well have been righteous in his day. And yet he felt unworthy of Christ. Consider this, no one is worthy of God's call; no one is worthy to minister to Christ. Turn to Matthew 8:8.