Jesus’ baptism is a great example to us all. John even tried to talk him out of it, apparently being aware of Jesus’ great moral fiber and righteousness. Yet, Jesus pushed the issue. He claimed He needed to be baptized “to fulfill all righteousness.” I understand that Jesus needed to be baptized not in order to be granted righteousness but in order to fulfill it. That is, in order to fulfill what the Father wanted for Him.
However, I can’t help but point out this has led to all kinds of incorrect argumentation. Sometimes we can come up with these great sounding statements that simply don’t hold water biblically. One such statement is that we need to be baptized because Jesus was baptized. That is simply not so. Just because Jesus did something doesn’t mean we have to. For instance, Jesus was circumcised (Luke 2:21). Jesus was presented at the temple for purification (Luke 2:22-24). I don’t have to do either of those things.
Don’t misunderstand. I certainly believe each and every one of us must be baptized. Mark 16:16 says only those who believe and are baptized will be saved. Acts 2:38 says we must repent and be baptized for the remission of our sins. I Peter 3:21 says baptism now saves us. For all these reasons, I must be baptized. However, I’m not baptized because Jesus was. In fact, Jesus did not undergo the same baptism we have to undergo. He went through the baptism of John. However, that baptism does me no good. In fact, in Acts 19:1-7, Paul found 12 men who had been baptized in John’s baptism. However, under this new covenant it had done them no good. They needed to be baptized in Jesus’ name. Interestingly, Jesus did not undergo that baptism.
The point behind all this is the baptism in which Jesus’ participated is not the same baptism in which we must participate. We do not get baptized for the same reasons as Jesus. Jesus was baptized in order to fulfill all righteousness. We are baptized in order to receive righteousness. Jesus was baptized with John’s baptism. We are baptized in Jesus’ baptism.
Therefore, please don’t tell me that our baptism is not for the remission of sins or in order to become a child of God just because Jesus was also baptized. His baptism was different.
The example Jesus did set for us here, however, is that if God says do something, we need to do it. Jesus did this because it was what God wanted. Instead of arguing against God, we need to submit to Him like Jesus did.
Keep the faith and keep reading,
P.S. What did you get out of today’s reading?