Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22.
Baptism of Jesus by John - Story Summary:
John the Baptist was God's appointed messenger. Before Jesus began his ministry, John had been announcing to the people throughout the regions of Jerusalem and Judea to prepare for the coming Messiah. He was calling them to repent, turn from their sins, and be baptized. He was pointing the way to Jesus. Then, all of a sudden, Jesus appeared on the scene. Jesus came to John to be baptized, but John told him, "I need to be baptized by you." John himself wondered why Jesus asked to be baptized.
So Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." John then consented and baptized Jesus. As Jesus came up out of the water, heaven opened, and the Spirit of God, like a dove, descended upon him. Witnesses to the baptism heard a voice from heaven saying, "This is my son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased."
Points of Interest from the Story:
• John felt unqualified to do what Jesus asked of him.
• Why did Jesus ask to be baptized? It was obviously part of his mission in coming to earth. Like previous priests of God--Moses, Nehemiah and Daniel--Jesus was confessing sin on behalf of the people. He was also endorsing John's ministry of baptism. In addition, Jesus was identifying with those who were repenting. He was also setting an example for his followers. He was foreshadowing his death, burial and resurrection. And lastly, Jesus was announcing the beginning of his ministry on earth.
Question for Reflection:
John had devoted his life to preparing for the arrival of Jesus. He had focused all of his energy toward this moment. He was set upon obedience. Yet the very first thing Jesus asked him to do, John resisted. He felt unqualified. Do you feel unqualified to fulfill your mission from God? John felt unworthy even to unfasten the shoes of Jesus, yet Jesus said John was the greatest of all prophets (Luke 7:28). Don't let your feelings of inadequacy hold you back from your God appointed mission.