Baptism of Jesus:
As we continue our devotional study on the Words of Christ, we go to Matthew 3. Though the Baptism of Jesus is recorded in three of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke, only Matthew records the words of Christ spoken to John.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
15 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.
16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3:13-17, NKJV
John was calling people to repentance, and baptizing them, while explaining that he was not the Christ, but that One greater than him was coming. Matthew tells is that when Jesus came to John to be baptized, John tried to prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are you coming to me?" Jesus replied with the following words, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."
What did Jesus mean by these words? Matthew Henry, in his commentary on this passage made the following comment:
Christ is now in a state of humiliation. Our Lord Jesus looked upon it as well becoming him to fulfil all righteousness, to own every Divine institution, and to show his readiness to comply with all God's righteous precepts. In and through Christ, the heavens are opened to the children of men. Jesus, the Son of God, was also the Son of Man. As a man, it was necessary that He fulfill all of God's righteous commands to men. Though He was the perfect man, yet He submitted Himself to God's will and was baptized. Not one of God's precepts would be left undone by the Lord Jesus Christ while He was in a state of humiliation.
What do we mean by a state of humiliation? We simply mean that God the Son, left Heaven's glory to walk on this earth as a lowly man, suffering all of the discomforts of life that we experience here on this earth. He could, had He chosen, at any moment have returned to the glory of heaven, but instead He chose to walk on this earth and fulfill all that God had chosen for Him to fulfill. Why? Christ Jesus made this choice because He had a work to do.
Only Christ, in His perfect righteousness and holiness, could come to this earth as the God man, offer Himself up as a sacrifice, and pay the debt of sin for all those who would come to Him. Even here, early in His earthly ministry, Christ was following all of the proper steps so that He could purchase a people for Himself.
In acknowledgement of His perfect obedience, when Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened, the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and sat upon Jesus' shoulder, and God spoke from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."
What an amazing God we serve. Not one of us deserves the great grace and mercy that God has bestowed upon us. Only through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, do we have that greatest of all gifts: eternal life.