Why Was Jesus Baptized?
“Now when all the people were baptized, Jesus was also baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, ‘You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.’” (Luke 3:21-22)
The prophetic ministry of John the Baptist had produced a messianic sense of expectation among the people (Luke 3:15). They were looking for their long-awaited messiah, who would deliver them from the oppression of the nations, especially that of Rome. Surely Messiah would be a powerful leader, with political and military expertise. He would rally the people and destroy their enemies. Instead, the first public act of Messiah was to be baptized with a baptism of repentance.
For many years I could not understand why Jesus had to be baptized by John with a baptism of repentance. Jesus was sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22), yet He who knew no sin stood in a place of public repentance. Why was this necessary to fulfill all righteousness? (Matthew 3:15)
There was a period in my life when I was struggling with something I knew was displeasing to God. I tried and tried to overcome it but was unable to repent of this thing. Then I understood. Sometimes a sin holds us with such power that we do not have the strength to stop it on our own, or to even repent of it. I realized that Jesus not only died for my sins, but that He also stood in the place of repentance for them. In my despair, I saw Him in the waters of repentance for me even as I had to see Him on the cross in the place of my judgment. I remembered Paul’s words, “How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:2-4)
The work of Christ in your life is complete and full. When you are struggling, and we all do, you can look to Him in the midst of your despair and know that you are complete in Him, even when you struggle to fully repent. I found the strength to repent of my sin when I saw that Jesus stood in the place of repentance for me. You can do the same!
ABOUT THE KEYSTONE PROJECT
The Keystone Project is a global missions network of churches and leaders committed to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in this generation.