Yeeee haw…. a brand new entry!
You may or may not have noticed that we are starting a new CATEGORY of blogging articles called Q & A. I am starting to see some response from our open invitation to field some questions spiritual/biblical/otherwise and thought we’d keep them all under the same heading.
So, anyway, here we go (he typed with giddy excitement)! An email I received over the weekend posed this question:
John the Baptist, practiced a baptism of repentance. Jesus never sinned, why would He be baptized for repentance?
Hmmm, good question. Let’s look at the text in question:
4 And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Mk 1:4-5). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Yep. Looks a little confusing that if John is preaching a baptism of repentance and Jesus is baptized by him, then isn’t Jesus repenting of something?
I mean come on. If A = B and B = C, then doesn’t A = C. Well, actually in new math I believe it actually equals 13.72, but that’s another issue (I hate math).
Here’s the most foundational rule of Bible study: Let the Bible interpret the Bible. (This rule is more than essential… keep it secret, keep it safe).
Let’s look at the actual baptism of Jesus and see if some of the questions aren’t answered right there:
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Mt 3:13-17). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
A couple of things stand out here:
John immediately recognized that Jesus need not be baptized for repentance. In fact the preacher said, “When it comes to you Jesus I need to become the preachee… baptize me!”
Jesus response to John was not in the same pattern of John’s previous baptisms in which the people came “Confessing their sins.” Jesus confessed no sins, but just indicated that this was an act of obedience to His Heavenly Father.
Finally, if you need more evidence that Jesus’ baptism was not a normal baptism… heaven opened up, God spoke from the clouds and the Holy spirit took on physical form as a dove. One abnormal baptism… CHECK!
There is no question that Jesus’ baptism was special, and therefore, no need to worry about John’s practice of repentant baptism. In fact, Jesus made the argument moot (not mute… that’s a button on your remote) when He said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”
It is proper, not necessary. If He had been been a sinner it would have been necessary, but if He were just being a obedient Son fulfilling the prophecy as His Father had instructed Him to fulfill, then it was proper.
Well, there you have it. Any thoughts, additions or completely erroneous corrections (Ha! Just kidding)?