Episode 160: The Baptism of Jesus
Mark 1:9-11 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. As soon as He came up from the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on Him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son, with you I am well-pleased”.
The question of why Jesus was baptized often comes up in theological discussion. This question stems from our belief of what baptism represents for followers of Jesus. We believe that baptism for the believer comes after the repentance of our sins and placing our faith in Christ. We even see that in the preceding verses. But Jesus lived a perfect life without sin so why would He need to be baptized if there was no need for repentance?
Jesus wasn’t baptized for the repentance of sins. His baptism wasn’t a profession of faith or an act of obedience but an affirmation of identity. When we pair Mark’s telling of the baptism with the description in John 1:29, we see three witnesses to the identity of Jesus. John proclaims, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. The heavens open and the Spirit descends on Jesus. Then God proclaims, “You are my beloved Son…”. The Jews understood the Lamb of God as the perfect sacrifice, the representation of centuries of sacrifices for repentance. They understood the significance of the Spirit descending on Jesus. They knew this from stories of the Spirit descending on the likes of Samson and David to give them strength, guidance, and affirmation. This was not a new concept to 1st century Jews. They certainly understood the significance of the voice of God speaking from the heavens and witnessing on behalf of His Son, Jesus.
Jesus wasn’t baptized for the same reasons we are baptized today. We get baptized to proclaim to the world that we are followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus was baptized so God would proclaim that Jesus was His Son whom He sent to be followed. We are baptized as a profession of forgiveness through Cross. Jesus was baptized to affirm He was the provision of forgiveness on His way to the Cross.
In the Gospel of Jesus, His baptism represents the coronation of the Him as rightful heir to the throne and worthy of our submission to Him. Let us be a people who follow in a manner that honors His worthiness and sacrifice.
Love Y’all! Be Blessed!