Baptism of Jesus
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him 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, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” ~ Matthew 3:13-17
It is only in Matthew's gospel that John asks the question I've wanted to ask Jesus myself.
Why does he need to be baptized?
Whatever your denominational tradition, as Christians we have all kinds of rules and regulations about baptism, as well as reasons for it.
And forgiveness of sin is right up there are the top.
So what does Jesus need to be baptized for? I remember this was a question that brought about lively debate in my New Testament class in Seminary.
None of the other gospels address this, but Jesus himself gives the answer: it is proper in this way to fulfil all righteousness.
We know in Hebrew that righteousness means basically a life of right (proper) relationships. Jesus is baptized to fulfil right relationship. Jesus is baptized in solidarity with us.
Jesus takes on our sinfulness from the very beginning. Jesus is one with us.
Like us, Jesus begins a new walk of faith and life with his baptism. Where will that walk take him?
And where will our baptism take us?
Wash me clean that I may be renewed in you, O Lord! Amen