As a believer with a deep passion for spiritual practices, I understand the importance of
baptism. However, I find Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist before beginning his mission
unusual. This is because Jesus had no sin and did not need to repent, yet he let John the Baptist
baptize him. As a pastor who has taught this topic a couple of times, some of my students ask
me, “why was Jesus baptized?”
In this article, I will discuss the significance of baptism and why Jesus’ baptism was necessary in
relation to his mission on earth. Join me on this exploration and learn if the Bible explains why
Jesus was baptized, the symbolism of Jesus’ baptism, and how his baptism demonstrated his
obedience to God. Keep reading to find out why Jesus did not baptize himself. Here is more!
Does the Bible explain why Jesus was baptized?
The question of why Jesus was baptized is very common, considering that he was without sin and baptism was a sign of repentance. Mathew 3:11, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
However, though the Bible does not explicitly explain why Jesus was baptized, there are a few hints in the Bible on why it had to happen. The book of Mathew 3:13-17 indicates that Jesus was baptized to fulfill righteousness. When Jesus approached John the Baptist, John was reluctant to baptize him because he knew he was the Messiah.
However, Jesus told him that it was proper to baptize him to fulfill all righteousness. Immediately John baptized him, the Holy Spirit landed on Jesus as a dove, and God’s voice was heard, acknowledging Jesus as his son, whom he loves.
What was the significance of baptism?
It is clear in the scripture that Jesus did not need to repent or turn away from sin because he was sinless in nature. Therefore, his baptism signified something else. Scholars conclude that the baptism of Jesus was essential for future generations of Christians to know that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. The book of Mathew 3:17 says the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, came from heaven after Jesus was baptized, and a voice followed saying that Jesus is indeed the son of God.
Additionally, during the baptism of Jesus, we unite the union of the Trinity, God the father, the son, and the Holy Spirit. God, the son, is Jesus Christ, God the father was the voice that came from heaven, and God the Holy Spirit was the bird that landed on Jesus.
Mathew 3:16- 17 reads, “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 alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, this is my son, whom I love, with him, I am well pleased.” Therefore, the baptism of Jesus should not be confusing. The major significance of it was to identify Christ as the Messiah.
Furthermore, scholars and bible readers agree that the baptism of Jesus signified his obedience to God the father. Jesus was clear throughout his time on earth that he came to fulfill the will of God. Therefore, his baptism was key before he could embark on his mission to the wilderness.
Why was Jesus’ baptism important in relation to his mission on earth?
It was important for Jesus to be baptized by John the Baptist before he could go to the wilderness and embark on his mission. Through his baptism, John recognized Jesus as a “voice crying in the wilderness.” Isaiah 40:3 reads, “And voice cries, in the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.”
Therefore, by Jesus being baptized, it was clear that he was the Messiah they had been waiting for. Mathew 3:11 says, “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who comes after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Jesus came on earth to die for our sins. His baptism shows that he identified with sinners.
As mentioned above, scholars note that it was important for Jesus to be baptized as it showed a sign of obedience to God. In Mathew 3:15, Jesus says that it was “fitting” for him to be baptized. Meaning he was obeying an order.
Furthermore, Jesus needed the Holy Spirit to guide him through the wilderness as temptations were awaiting him. Peter tells us in the book of Acts that we have to repent and be baptized to receive the Holy Spirit. This is evident when Jesus was baptized; the Holy Spirit came down upon him as a dove. This was key to guiding and supporting him as he began his mission.
What was the symbolism of Jesus’ baptism?
Baptism often symbolizes the forgiveness of sins. Acts 2:38 says, “Then Peter said unto them, repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit came down to him as a dove.
However, the baptism of Jesus Christ symbolizes more than the forgiveness of sins. His baptism was a sign that he was ready to embark on the great mission that was awaiting him as the Messiah. As soon as he was baptized, the Holy Spirit landed on Jesus, and God approved him as his son.
How did Jesus’ baptism demonstrate his obedience to God?
Jesus demonstrated his obedience to God by letting John the Baptist baptize him, yet he had no sin. When Jesus went to be baptized, John was reluctant because he was the Messiah; however, Jesus insisted that he baptizes him because it was “fitting” or required. After his baptism, God acknowledges that he is his son.
This did not only demonstrate obedience to God but also humility. Jesus could have begun his ministry without being baptized because he is fully God. However, he chose to follow God’s will and plan on how humanity should be saved, and just like us sinners, he accepted to be baptized.
Why didn’t Jesus just baptize himself?
Most Christians are always curious to know why Jesus could not baptize himself, yet he had no sin and let John the Baptist do so. Scholars believe it is because John the Baptist had been chosen to prepare the way for Jesus. They argue that the baptism of Jesus was predetermined to happen that way; hence it had to happen that way.
Therefore, if Jesus could have baptized himself, the prophecy of Isaiah could not have been fulfilled. Mark 1:1-4 records the words of Prophet Isaiah about the baptism of Jesus and how John the Baptist will prepare the way for him. “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way.” A voice of one calling in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.”
Therefore, it was important for Jesus to be baptized by John the Baptist as it was predetermined he would prepare the way for the Messiah.
As a devout Christian, I have always been passionate about the Christian faith. This inspired me to pursue a degree in Religious studies and a Masters in Theology in college. I have also been privileged to teach 4 Christian courses in a college and university. Since I am dedicated to spreading the word of God, I am actively involved in the Church. Additionally, I share his word online and cover diverse topics on the Christian faith through my platform. You can read more about me on the about us page.