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"And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan." Mark 1:9

Since John the Baptist came preaching a "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Mark 1:4) and Jesus was holy and without sin (cf. Hebrews 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22), we might wonder why Jesus came to John to be baptized in the Jordan.

Indeed, John asked the same question of Jesus. Matthew 3:13-15 says: "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him." It was, as Jesus said, necessary to fulfill all righteousness and complete the work Jesus came into this world to do.

Jesus came into this world to fulfill all righteousness in our stead that He might also take our place under the curse of God's law and make full atonement for our sins. The Bible tells us that "when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4-5). And, "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Galatians 3:13).

Perhaps even more significant is the fact that Christ Jesus, God's Son and our Savior, was establishing a new covenant -- a covenant of grace in which our sins are cleansed and forgiven for the sake of Jesus' blood shed upon the cross for the sins of all.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 9:11-15: "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." Cf. Jeremiah 31-31-34.

And, since baptism is called "the circumcision made without hands" (Colossians 2:11) and the way in which we are joined to Christ in His death and resurrection and made recipients of the blessings of this new covenant established by Christ's blood (cf. Colossians 2:11-15; Romans 6:1-14), it is only fitting that Christ Himself be baptized in order to establish this new covenant and make it possible for us to be joined to him through our baptism (cf. Galatians 3:26-27; Hebrews 10:19ff.).

Indeed, it is because Christ was baptized and then took our place under the law to fulfill it for us and to suffer our just punishment (cf. Isaiah 53:6) that we are baptized into Christ that our sins might be washed away and we might be counted righteous and holy in God's eyes through faith in Jesus' name. Because Christ, the mediator of the new covenant by His atoning sacrifice on the cross, was baptized, we who are baptized into His name receive the gracious blessings of the covenant -- namely, forgiveness for all our sins and a place in His eternal kingdom!

Thus, Jesus commanded and the disciples preached repentance and baptism in Jesus' name for the remission of sins (cf. Matthew 28:18-20; Luke 24:46-47; Acts 2:38-39). And all who trusted in Christ and were baptized into His name -- the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost -- were saved.

Why was Jesus baptized? He was baptized that you, through your baptism, might be joined to Him and receive the blessings promised and guaranteed in the new covenant He established with His own blood! The sinless Son of God was baptized that sinners like you and me might receive the mercy and forgiveness He won for all by His atoning sacrifice on the cross! Jesus was baptized that all who believe and are baptized might be saved (Cf. Mark 16:15-16)!

We give You thanks and praise, dear Jesus, that You were baptized and established a new covenant whereby we, through our baptism, might be joined to You and receive the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting You won for all by Your holy life and innocent sufferings and death for the sins of the world. Amen.

[Devotion by Randy Moll. Scripture taken from the King James Version of the Bible.]

Editorial on 01/10/2018

Print Headline: Why was Jesus baptized? He was without sin!

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