Luke 3:21-22 (NIV) When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Jesus was baptized along with the people, but not for repentance from sins He had committed, because, even though He was tempted in every way as we are, He was completely without sin (Hebrews 4:15). Instead, He was baptized for four reasons:
- Solidarity with the people whom He came to save. Jesus could relate to them, because, even though He had no sin, He really had been tempted, and knew how difficult it was to stay holy. It was also an act of humility to be baptized with God’s people, a part of His own “humbling” process. (See Philippian 2:8.)
- Obedience to God’s will. Jesus didn’t always know or understand why He was commanded to say or do something until after He obeyed and saw the result. He didn’t have to know why, only what, in order to obey.
- In this case, Jesus obedience provided the opportunity for the sign that God had promised John. John himself admitted that the reason he had come baptizing was that God told him that the one whom he baptized and then saw the Spirit descend and remain on was the Messiah, the Son of God (John 1:32-34).
- It gave Jesus Himself confirmation that He was still right in the center of God’s will as He heard the Father’s voice from heaven. Jesus always listened carefully and intently, and as soon as He understood what God wanted Him to do, He obeyed completely and thoroughly. But even for Him it was nice to receive a “job well done” from time to time.
Father, You are infinite in every dimension. So it is hardly surprising that even a simple command, like for Jesus to allow Himself to be baptized by John, would have multiple things that it was designed to accomplish. That’s one of the reasons that, even for us today, Jesus’ model of listen carefully, understand the what completely, and obey thoroughly is so important. Help me today to do all three of these every moment, so I can live actively in Your will. Amen.