The Baptism of Jesus
In Matthew 3 Verses 13 to 17 is the account of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist.
Matthew 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
This would be the symbol of the death and resurrection of Jesus into which we are baptized.
14 And John tried to prevent him saying, “I have need to be baptized by you and you are coming to me?”
John said he needed to be baptized so why would anyone else think baptism is not needed and John had the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb. Luke 1:15 It is just like Cornelius, it does not matter if you have the Holy Spirit first you still need baptized.
15. But Jesus answered and said to him, “permit it to be so for now for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted him.
John understood what Jesus said and agreed to baptize Jesus.
Daniel 9:27 “to bring in everlasting righteousness”
16. Then Jesus when he had been baptized came up immediately from the water and behold the heavens were open to him and he
saw the spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon him.
Daniel 9:27 “to anoint the most holy”
17. And suddenly a voice came from heaven saying, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.”
To understand these verses we must ask the questions; who, what, where, when, how and why and depend upon God to answer them from the scripture.
First we know that Jesus was without sin and was unable to sin because God created Jesus righteous, Jesus was as righteous as God, and this is how when we see Jesus we see the Father. Jesus had no need to be baptized for himself, which means he did this for another reason. That reason Jesus told John, who first tried to prevent the baptism saying he had need that Jesus baptize him, was to fulfill all righteousness. What could it mean to fulfill all righteousness? Scripture says that through Jesus the saints become righteous. Through our faith in Jesus as Gods son and messiah, we are accounted to be righteous just as Abrahams faith was accounted to him for righteousness.
In the book of Romans chapter 4 the faith of Abraham is accounted by God as righteousness and Abraham is called the father of the faithful and we saints are all of the seed of Abraham through Jesus.
Romans 4:11 says that circumcision was given to Abraham as a sign, a seal of the righteousness of the faith he had, faith in God and a future messiah and son of God. This seal or sign of circumcision is replaced in the new covenant by baptism and the baptism of Jesus was that act of replacement for all the ancient saints that had never been baptized. We know that circumcision was done away in Christ who gave his flesh as the true sacrifice and not the flesh of the foreskins of men but until Christ came, circumcision was the seal God gave to Abraham. Just as all Israel in 1 Corinthians 10:1-2 were baptized into Moses while passing under the cloud and through the sea all the saints both ancient and modern are baptized into Jesus.
Therefore, our righteousness and all righteousness was fulfilled by Jesus in the act of being baptized by John the Baptist.
The saints who lived before Jesus like Noah, Abraham, Moses and David all knew of the messiah and the message of the gospel and looked forward in faith to the first advent but none of them were ever baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Luke 10:24 “For I tell you that many prophets and kings have desired to see what you see and have not seen it and to hear what you hear and have not heard it.”
While it is true all these ancient saints had the Holy Spirit, they were never baptized.
A new covenant example of this is the story of the house of Cornelius that received the Holy Spirit first and then later baptized in the name of Jesus. This happened to show the Apostles that God was calling the Gentiles into the faith as well as the Jews. The ancient saints needed baptized in the name of Jesus and that God would confirm Jesus as His son and messiah.
This confirmation from God is in verses 16 & 17 with the Holy Spirit anointing Jesus for his ministry as messiah and that Jesus was indeed the son of God by a voice from heaven.
David in Psalm 20:1-6 speaks of this future baptism of Jesus in Verse 2 the help from the sanctuary is the helper, the Holy Spirit.
Verse 3 your burnt sacrifice is your broken contrite heart that is to God a sacrifice.
Verse 4 God grants you the desire of your heart for where your heart is there your treasure will be also.
Verse 5 then we will rejoice in God and in His salvation and set up our banners or plant our flag in Him as He answers our petitions or prayers.
Verse 6 God saved Jesus from the grave and set Jesus at His right hand. When Jesus was baptized by John God answered from His holy heaven with a voice saying, “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.” Jesus is the right hand of God the saving strength of us all.
Verse 9 All the saints of the time before Jesus called to God to save them in the messiah they had faith in even though they knew Jesus would not be born in their lifetime. The King, the great God answered this psalm when God confirmed Jesus as messiah and His son at his baptism by John the Baptist.
And thus, it is as Jesus told John, “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.”
Physical circumcision was outward in the flesh before the time of Jesus and was a sign God gave to Abraham.
Matthew 11:13 “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.”
Jesus would fulfill all the prophecy about himself, the things of the law concerning him; the sign of circumcision ended at the baptism of Jesus, and baptism took its place.
A “sign” is like a promise, token or prelude to a future event that looks to fulfillment. This sign of circumcision indicated Abraham’s faith in messiah and the gospel. This sign of circumcision was fulfilled at the baptism of Jesus and Abraham’s faith was confirmed.
Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the Fathers.
Genesis 17:11 “And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin and it shall be “sign” of the covenant between you and me.”
This was not the old covenant that God was talking about; it was the new covenant because God did not make the old covenant with Abraham or any of the Fathers.
Deuteronomy 5:3 “The Lord did not make this covenant with our Fathers but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive.”
Circumcision was a sign for the new covenant baptism of Jesus that fulfilled the faith and imputed righteousness of the saints before the new covenant began to be preached to the world and was not affected by the giving of the law as Paul says in Galatians 3:15-18.
When Jesus was baptized, the new covenant great comission came into effect and circumcision since being fulfilled was done away and replaced with baptism in Jesus that is of the inner heart and not outward in the flesh. It is now by the flesh of Jesus and not by a sign in the flesh of man.
God gave the new covenant to Abraham but because Jesus was not yet born and baptism not yet instituted God gave the sign of circumcision that would expire when Jesus would be baptized by John the Baptist. Romans 2:28-29 explains this fact.
Baptism is to the new covenant as circumcision is to the old. If you were not circumcised you could not enter the old covenant or keep the Passover and if not baptized could not enter the new covenant or keep the Passover of Jesus, see Mark 16:16. Romans 4:11-12 states that baptism was a sign of the faith of Abraham that would apply to both circumcised and uncircumcised.
The cutting of the foreskin was replaced by the cutting of the heart, see Acts 2:37-38, these Jews were cut to the heart or circumcised in the heart and were ready to be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit.
Romans 4:16 I will paraphrase; That the promise might be sure to all the seed----Jesus was baptized by John to fulfill all righteousness----not only to those under the law and circumcision but also to those of faith and baptism.
Jesus fulfilled all the law and once fulfilled it is no longer to be observed otherwise it would deny the fulfillment, the work of Christ. And this is why today we no longer circumcise we baptize.
If you are reading this paper baptism should become most important to you as it was with Jesus and John the Baptist and to honor the command of Jesus to be baptized in His name to receive all the promises God gave to Abraham, to become Abraham’s seed and heir to those promises.