The baptism of Jesus was a significant event. It marked the beginning of his ministry as it was from that point on that he began to preach the good news of the gospel. But there are other significant matters pertaining to the baptism of Jesus that we need to understand as well.
John the Baptist was preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. However in Jesus case there was no sin. Thus he did not really need to be baptised. If this was so then why did he do it? We see the answer in the Matthew version of the baptism of Jesus. “John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented.” (Matthew 4:14-15)
Jesus did not need to be baptised for he was without sin. However he went through baptism as an example for all who were to follow him later on. It is through baptism in water that Jesus showed we fulfil the requirements of righteousness. Baptism is essential if we are to be enabled to reach a place of righteousness in him, for in baptism we are baptised into Jesus Christ and put on his righteousness. This occurs through faith, as baptism is a faith-based teaching. In it we believe through faith that we have died and been raised again with Jesus so that we are born again as new creations.
Also in the baptism of Jesus we see that he provided an example that we ought follow. If Jesus had not been baptised then people could have claimed it was not necessary to be baptised. But in the example of Jesus we see that no man can claim that they need not be baptised. And yet some do not baptise still today. How then is it possible to fulfil all the requirements of righteousness as Jesus pointed out to John the Baptist? If you are not baptised you cannot even begin to fulfil the requirements of righteousness.
We see further that these requirements are what will bring us into the kingdom of God. Jesus said to Nicodemus that being born again of water and the Spirit was necessary to be able to enter the kingdom of God. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5) Baptism is the rebirth in water and receiving the Holy Spirit is being born of the Spirit. Jesus fulfilled both of these requirements at the time he was baptised for as he came up out of the water the Holy Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove. (Verse 10) And as the result of these two events we see God the Father speak audibly saying, “Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased.” (Verse 11)
When we obey the Father and follow the example of the Son by being baptised and receiving the Holy Spirit and believing in Jesus Christ, we too will please the Father. In the end it is our hope that we will receive entry into his kingdom for eternity with the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)