Free Bible Commentary
“Matthew 3:13-17”Categories: 50 Days with Jesus
“Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?’ 15 But Jesus answering said to him, ‘Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then he permitted Him. After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”
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People from all over the region were coming to John to confess their sins and to be baptized by him in the waters of the river Jordan (verses 5-6). When Jesus came to be baptized as well, John tried repeatedly to prevent Him from doing so (verse 14). Why would the perfect Lamb of God come to a sinner like John to be baptized? If a baptism were to take place here, John knew in his heart that Jesus should be baptizing him.
But Jesus wasn’t coming to John to partake in “a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1:4). Jesus was being baptized “to fulfill all righteousness” (verse 15). I’m not exactly certain of the full implications of this phrase, but I do like what Leon Morris wrote about it: “Jesus might well have been up there in front standing with John and calling on sinners to repent. Instead he was down there with the sinners, affirming his solidarity with them, making himself one with them in the process of the salvation that he would in due course accomplish.”
John relented to Jesus’ request (command?) and he baptized Him. What ensued must have been just an incredible sight to behold! When Jesus came up out of the water, “The heavens were opened, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (verses 16-17).
When John introduced Jesus as the King that he had been paving the way for, the heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit emphatically and publicly expressed their approval for the Son of God as well, and the work He was entering into.
Please read Luke 4:1-13 for tomorrow.
Have a wonderful day!