Then Jesus came from Jerusalem to the Jordan to receive adulation from John.  John said, “It is I who needs to be baptised by you!”  Jesus answered him, “You are correct, for I am the Righteous One.”
The heavens opened as Jesus declared the truth, and the Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove to confirm Jesus’ purity.  And then a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Lion of Judah who deserves all power and authority, honour and glory.”
After this Jesus baptised John.
Not the Bible: The Ungospel of Matthew 3:13-17

Baptism under John was a public declaration of turning away from sin.

So why did Jesus go to John to be baptised?

Surely as the perfect lamb who takes away the sin of the world he doesn’t need a public declaration of his turning to God as he never turned away in the first place.  But when John protests Jesus answers him:

“Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfil all righteousness.” (Mt 3:15)

But Jesus is already righteous so how is He fulfilling righteousness by doing something unnecessary.

Hold on a second – we’re beginning to sound like the Pharisees.  You see they went to see John but most didn’t get baptised as they believed themselves to be righteous through their dedicated adherence to the law.

Don’t you just want to say “Ah yes but…”

Jesus is righteous but still publicly chose to acknowledge His need to turn constantly to the Father.  Soon as we forget this we start to get in trouble.  For example:

  • “I don’t need to declare I’m a Christian at work – as long as I honour God in my heart”
  • “I don’t need to stand up or go to the front for prayer – as God will meet me right here”
  • “I don’t need to get married – as long as I’m committed in my heart”

Soon as we step back from public action we actually step back from righteousness – being right with God – because we have put ourselves ahead of Him – we have become proud.

Father forgive me for thinking I can live my life differently to Jesus – that I can live my life on my terms.  Let me be totally sold out on following you no matter the cost to my pride or to how people view me.  Let me in return hear your voice from heaven saying “This is my beloved son/daughter with whom I am well pleased.”

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