Matthew’s Gospel: The baptism of Jesus
40 Blogs of Lent: 3
Yesterday’s blog was about John the Baptist and his link between the Old Testament and Jesus. Now the narrative switches to Jesus. Jesus comes to John for baptism.
John’s baptism is all about repentance, and John recognises that Jesus does not need to repent. Jesus though insists. Why would a sinless man/god need to go through baptism, and why would he insist on it? This question has perplexed theologians from very early Christian times; it is not something they could ignore, Jesus’ baptism is told in all four Gospels, which gives us some idea of its importance. Only two of the four Gospel writers give a birth narrative, so Jesus baptism is of at least the same importance to us, if not more so, than Christmas. There is something vitally important to learn here.
Baptism saves us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ it says in 1 Peter 3:21 tying together the beginning and end of Jesus’ ministry on earth. Not an easy verse for Evangelicals, we tend to speak as if everything is about the cross and nothing else. Nonetheless, Peter ties baptism with the passion, the death, resurrection and ascension, of Jesus Christ. Jesus is to identify with us in his death and resurrection, and here, before he starts his ministry, he identifies with us again by being baptised by John.
When Jesus comes to John the narrative is still about John, Jesus is seen as a carpenter, the son of a carpenter. After the baptism, the whole story changes. The narrative is now about Jesus until the end of the Gospel. “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power,” says Peter in Acts 10:36, referring back to Jesus’ baptism, just before God anointed non-Jews with the Holy Spirit and power for the first time.
The baptism of Jesus is important because it reveals who Jesus is. Part of the holy Godhead that exist in a union of love, all are present at the scene. Jesus is shown to be much more than a woodworker, he is the Mighty God, anointed King of the world.
From here on Jesus goes out as a king, and shows us what a true king actually is, a king who identifies with us.
The passage is here:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him,[b] and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Matthew 3 ESVUK
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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.