Jesus and John

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. Matthew 3:13

Sometimes when I’m eating with my children, I eat things I don’t enjoy, even some things I dislike. I could just insist they try new foods on their own, but I want to set a good example. Asking them to do something I won’t do myself makes teaching them much less effective.

The people John baptized came to him because they needed to repent from their sins. Then Jesus came to him and asked to be baptized, too. Did Jesus need to repent? Of course not! So John asked him the obvious question: “Why?”

Jesus didn’t need to repent from sin and He was already part of God’s family, so what was the purpose of His baptism? Jesus told John, “It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” In other words, being baptized is good and right in itself, so it was good and right for Jesus to do it, even if He didn’t “need” to be baptized like others needed to.

He also was identifying Himself as the person John had been preaching about. All of the Gospels record Jesus’ visit to John; when the same story appears in all four books, you can be sure it’s an important one! Here is how their meeting is described in John 1:29-31:

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”

Jesus’ visit to John and His baptism showed that what John had been preaching was true, and that Jesus was the savior John preached. It also affirmed that being baptized and repenting were good things to do. Jesus was setting an example for us to follow.

Questions for discussion and reflection

  • Why was John confused that Jesus wanted to be baptized?
  • Can you think of any righteous actions you should take, even though you might not “need” to?
  • Have you been baptized at North Valley? If not explore more online and take your next step. Next week the church will be having baptisms in both services.

Dear God, thank You for teaching us in so many ways: by Your word, through the words of others, and through the example of Jesus Christ. Help us understand them all through Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.