baptism of Jesus

Baptism in Iraq

Many people seem to miss the significance of the baptism of Jesus. Misunderstandings and false assumptions muddy the waters making a clear understanding more difficult. Here are some common fallacies related to this important event.

Common Fallacies About Jesus’ Baptism

    • “John the Baptist did not baptize for remission of sins, only as a sign of repentance.” Contrast that with the trust of Mark 1:4, “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins” (NKJV, emphasis added). Undoubtedly some will argue that “repentance” was for the remission of sins. But the fact remains: Unless they repented are were baptized, they still had sins.
    • “Jesus accepted baptism to show us that we should also accept baptism.” This popular idea comes from Matthew 3. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him” (Matthew 3:13-15). What this does not say is that Jesus did it to show us an example. It was to fulfill righteousness. That is, it was necessary for a specific reason -which John explained.
    • “Jesus accepted baptism to show His penitent heart.” The problem here lies in the definition of “penitent”. As defined by, it means “feeling or expressing sorrow for sin or wrongdoing and disposed to atonement and amendment; repentant; contrite.” How could the sinless Son of God feel remorse for sins He never committed? It’s technically impossible for John to baptize Jesus according to the requirements of John’s baptism because Jesus could not “repent” since He never sinned in the first place. This also coincides with the previous point. He did not do it to show us an example because Jesus could not show us how to repent.

Why Did John Baptize Jesus?

John gives us the explanation for the baptism of Jesus. Read John’s words in John 1:31-33

‘I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.’ And John bore witness, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'”

God gave John a special message when He told John to go baptize people. That message was simple: “You are going to introduce the Messiah to the world. You do not know who He is, but when you see the Spirit of God come upon Him after His baptism, then you will know that Man to be the Messiah.” John did not have to take the word of Jesus alone. The Father Himself said what would happen, and it did. The Holy Spirit Himself came upon Jesus after His baptism, showing God’s Man. God echoed within the land, “This is My beloved Son…” (Matthew 3:17).

John knew Jesus. When Jesus came for baptism, John did not want to do it because he knew the character of Jesus. “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14). So the character of Jesus told John about Him. The coming of the Holy Spirit told John about Him. God’s thunderous voice told John about Him. And these things all happened when John baptized Jesus.

Jesus’ baptism was not for His benefit. It was for John’s.

God Wants You To KNOW

Don’t base your faith upon feelings “better felt than told” or upon whims and wishful thinking. Our’s is not a blind belief in something that has no evidence except I choose to believe it. In fact, God commands us to “Test all things” we believe (1 Thessalonians 5:21). We are to examine the things we believe and convince ourselves of veracity.

John didn’t guess. God put a spotlight on Jesus and said in no uncertain terms, “THIS IS THE MESSIAH!” John could look back on this activity and remember exactly what happened and prove it again and again that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. That wasn’t because he figured something out. It was because he saw it with his own eyes.

Your faith must develop into something solid that will not leave you even in times of doubt. Base it upon something undeniable.

That’s the lesson from Jesus’ baptism and why it matters.


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