The Baptism of Jesus by John

Why Was Jesus Baptized by John?

Baptism of Jesus
Distant Shores Media/Sweet Publishing

Before Jesus began his earthly ministry, John the Baptist was God's appointed messenger. John had been traveling around, announcing the coming of Messiah to the people throughout the regions of Jerusalem and Judea. 

John called people to prepare for Messiah's coming and to repent, turn from their sins, and be baptized. He was pointing the way to Jesus Christ. Then suddenly, Jesus appeared on the scene.

He came to John to be baptized, but John told him, "I need to be baptized by you." John himself wondered why Jesus had asked to be baptized.

Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." John 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 of Jesus' Baptism

John felt tremendously unqualified to do what Jesus had asked of him. As followers of Christ, we often feel inadequate to fulfill the mission God calls us to do.

Why did Jesus ask to be baptized? He was sinless; he did not need cleansing. No, the act of baptism was part of Christ mission in coming to earth. Like previous priests of God--Moses, Nehemiah, and Daniel--Jesus was confessing sin on behalf of the people of the world.

Likewise, he was endorsing John's ministry of baptism.

By submitting to the waters of baptism, Jesus was identifying with those who were repenting. He was setting an example for his followers as well.

Baptism was a foreshadowing of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. And lastly, Jesus was announcing the beginning of his ministry on earth.

The trinity doctrine is expressed in the account:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." Matthew 3:16–17 (NIV)

God the Father speaks from heaven, God the Son is baptized, and God the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove.

Question for Reflection

John had devoted his life to preparing for the arrival of Jesus. He had focused all of his energy on this moment. His heart was set on obedience. Yet, the very first thing Jesus asked him to do, John resisted.

He resisted because he felt unqualified, unworthy Do you feel inadequate 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.

Scripture References to Jesus' Baptism

Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22.