Why did Jesus get baptised?
In Lost season 2, episode 12 one of the characters, Mr Eko (what a name!!), described as a priest, explains the need for a baby recently born to be baptised.
Mr Eko said that when John baptised Jesus he had “cleansed this man from all his sins, he had freed him”. Another view within that episode was that baptism is our “spiritual insurance”.
Is that true? And if not why did Jesus get baptised?
Firstly, let’s make sure we get a couple of things straight. Jesus did not get baptised to be cleansed from his sins, since he was completely pure already and had never sinned. In fact John himself recognised this, insisting that Jesus should baptise him saying “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?” (Matt 3:14)
Jesus didn’t need to be baptised for his own sake. He did it to identify with us, mankind. Jesus identified with the sins of the people he had created, not sinful himself, but showing the way for his people to follow after him. On a side-point, it is a great act of leadership – not just instructing others but showing the way himself.
Jesus said in Matthew 3:15 “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Jesus was beginning his mission into the world. He’d spent years of his life preparing to go, to complete the mission his Father had sent him on. Phil Moore writes “Jesus waited patiently for twenty-eight years, letting his Father prepare him like an arrow and choose the right time to take him out and shoot.” Now was the time for Jesus to fulfil all righteousness. He did this through a relationship of obedience to Father God and through fulfilling God’s purpose of salvation throughout history, culminating with the cross and resurrection.
It was a sign of things to come that just as Jesus was immersed in water so he would be immersed in judgement and death, on the cross. And just as he was raised up out of the water so He would be raised up from the grave.
Baptism by itself is not the cleansing of sins. It does not make you a Christian. Baptism is an outward reflection of the heart. It is obedience and submission to Christ. It is the declaration of your faith in Jesus and commitment to follow Him, no matter what, and is an reflection of what has happened to you as a result of your faith; that your old life has died on the cross with Christ and now you have been raised with Christ, with new life.
Wayne Grudem says, “The amazing truths of passing through the waters of judgement safely, of dying and rising with Christ, and of having our sins washed away, are truths of momentous and eternal proportion and ought to be an occasion for giving great glory and praise to God”.
So why did Jesus get baptised? He did it to show obedience to his Father, to demonstrate the way for us to follow and to identify with his people.
The bigger question is this. Why would you not get baptised? The Bible is clear about it, Jesus instructed all of us to go and be baptised. Again Wayne Grudem says this, “There is the blessing of God’s favour that comes with all obedience, as well as the joy that comes through public profession of one’s faith.”
God has called you to follow Him, there’s blessing in obedience. Will you follow?
Go for it you incredible bunch of young people!