Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Jesus’ Baptism—And Our's

By Ronald Bartanen

    As John the baptizer was preaching a message of repentance and the kingdom of God, and baptizing in the Jordan River, many came to him to be baptized, “confessing their sins” (Matt. 3:6). We are then informed, “Then cometh Jesus…to be baptized” (Matt. 3:13). Jesus had lined up with the “publicans and harlots” (Matt. 21:31-32), though in no need of repentance and baptism “for the remission of sins” (Mark 1:4), being the sinless Son of God. We can learn much about the significance of baptism from the example of Jesus.
    The baptism of Jesus was a decisive act. He was not brought as an infant, but came in a personal response to the will of the Father, or, as He explained to John, “to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15). Righteousness is defined in Psa. 119:172: “All thy commandments are righteousness.” Baptism continues to be a command of God (Acts 10:48). Jesus made this commitment, knowing the path He was choosing would lead to the cross, His burial and resurrection, as prefigured in baptism. He was trading a life of personal security and privacy in Nazareth for a baptism of suffering. Baptism for us as well must be a personal decision of commitment to do the Father’s will regardless of inconvenience or sacrifice.
   Jesus’ baptism was an act of humility. John recognized that Jesus had no need for baptism because He had no need for repentance. Standing with sinners, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8). Yet there are those who refuse baptism on the grounds of their morality. Baptism is a humbling act for the believer who, in baptism, is “buried with Christ…into death” and is raised to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4).
   Jesus’ baptism was an act of separation, His private life behind Him and His public ministry before Him. To those baptized, “Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 3:17-18).
   Jesus’ baptism was a prayerful act, as declared in Luke 3:21: “Jesus also being baptized and praying….” In baptism, prayerful hearts commit themselves to God. The “sinner’s prayer” is not independent of baptism. It was in baptism that Saul (Paul) was told, “Arise and be baptized, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). While such a prayer need not be vocal, in baptism one is to seek from God the “remission of sins” and “the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38-39).
   Jesus’ baptism was a divinely approved act. As Jesus arose from the watery grave, the Spirit of God descended upon Him, and the voice of the Father acknowledged Him: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16-17). We are acknowledged as children of God in Christ, as Paul wrote, “Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus, for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
who refused the baptism of John “rejected the council of God against themselves, being not baptized of him” (Lk. 7:30). Men would do well to heed the principle set forth in Hebrews 12:24: “If they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven.”

- Ronald Bartanen preaches for Arthur Church of Christ, Arthur, IL.  He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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