THE BAPTISM OF JESUS
A. You can probably identify several pivotal events that have shaped your life.
1. If you are married, your wedding day would certainly be one of those.
2. Graduation from high school/college might be another.
3. Accepting a particular job offer might be a crucial event.
4. Looking at spiritual matters, your baptism certainly qualifies as a pivotal event in your
B. Jesus also had a number of landmark events in His earthly life.
1. His virgin conception and birth certainly fit this mold.
2. In this lesson we want to look carefully at His baptism.
3. The baptism of Jesus is similar in some ways to our own, yet very different in others,
Jesus’ baptism marked a crucial point in His life and redemptive work.
A. BACKGROUND OF JESUS’ BAPTISM
1. The word “baptism” clearly denotes an immersion
a. The Greek term is baptizo means to dip, plunge, immerse, submerge – never
sprinkle or pour
b. Note Leviticus 14:15-16 (LXX)
1) “Pour” – epi chei
2) “Dip” – baptizo
3) “Sprinkle” – ranei
4) God left no doubt what baptism means – God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor.
c. According to Matthew 3:16 & Mark 1:10 Jesus “came up out of the water”
1) Acts 8:38-39
2) In all 3 cases, going into the water and coming up out of it would be nonsensical if
“baptism” was sprinkling or pouring
d. Acts 22:16
1) lou0 – wash whole body
2) nipto – wash body parts
3) Every passage where wash is used in connection with baptism louo is always
2. Baptism such that to which Jesus submitted was not a Jewish washing.
a. Jews purified all sorts of things by dipping them (cf. Mk. 7:4, 8) – even
dipped themselves as a ritual cleansing.
b. Baptism administered by John was different:
1) People didn’t dip themselves, but were dipped by another
2) Not just a ceremonial cleansing, but a spiritual one
3) That it was different from Jewish washings is immediately evident in the attention
it Attracted-if just another Jewish washing, who would bother to give it special
B. WAYS JESUS’ BAPTISM WAS A LANDMARK EVENT
1. It marked the acknowledgment from Heaven that Jesus was the Son of
a. Luke 3:22
b. This had been mentioned in private and implied –Matthew 1:23
c. Certainly John heard this announcement, and there is no reason to think others who
were there could not hear it.
2. It marked the revealing of Jesus to Israel
a. John 1:31
b. Prior to this, John had not “known” Jesus
1) They certainly were acquainted, i.e. were cousins (Mary & Elizabeth were kin,
2) He knew Jesus well enough to conclude that it was he who needed baptism from
Jesus, not the other way around, (Mt. 3:14)
3) He may well have been convinced in his own mind that Jesus was the Messiah.
c. At Jesus’ baptism (esp. as the Spirit descended as a dove & the Voice spoke), John
knew by revelation that Jesus was the Son of God. He then proceeded to introduce
Him as such.
3. It marked His reception of the Holy Spirit
a. In fulfillment of prophecy – Isaiah 11:2
b. Luke 3:21 (perhaps an answer to His prayer??)
c. Unlimited in its manifestation
1) John 3:34
2) Unlike other prophets who spoke God’s words only from time to time when the
Spirit came upon them, the Spirit was always upon Jesus, and whenever He spoke
it was always God’s word
d. Why did Jesus receive the Spirit?
1) Only after this did He work miracles!
2) Philippians 2:7 – His “emptying” of Himself evidently involved a voluntary
suspending of His exercising of the powers of Deity
4. It marked the beginning of His public ministry
a. First He endured a period of severe testing, as is seen in Matthew 4 (40 days of
b. Then we see Him preaching, working miracles, calling disciples, etc.
5. It marked His complete obedience to the Father
a. Matthew 3:13-15
b. Note that Jesus’ baptism was NOT “for the remission of sins” (contrast Mk. 1:4);
Jesus had no sins for which to repent (Heb. 4:15)
c. Jesus was baptized to “fulfill all righteousness” = complete obedience to God
1) Jesus taught that John’s baptism was the will of God
a) Matthew 21:25
b) Luke 7:30 (rejected will of God)
2) Contrary to popular belief, you and I cannot be baptized “to fulfill all
righteousness” unless we, like Jesus, are sinlessly perfect
a) It is true that we obey God in baptism
b) It is true that Jesus’ baptism is, in many ways, an example for us.
c) But to fulfill ALL righteousness, you would have to be sinless like Jesus was – we
are baptized for remission of sins
d. Note how important obedience was to Jesus: ©
1) He traveled from Nazareth in Galilee to the to the Jordan River in the wilderness of
Judea (Mk. 1:9 cf. 1:4) – about 60-70 miles
2) Jesus often emphasized His submission to the Father’s will, e.g. John 5:30; 6:38
3) Though He did not need remission of sins, His perfect obedience gave Him the
moral authority to tell others they should obey as well.
A. Jesus’ baptism was a landmark occasion
1. It marked the acknowledgment from Heaven that He was the Son of God;
2. It marked His revealing to Israel;
3. It was at His baptism that He received the Holy Spirit;
4. His baptism marked the beginning of His marvelous public ministry;
5. And it marked His absolute, complete obedience to God the Father.
B. Having been obedient not only on this landmark occasion, but at all other times as well, Jesus is now “the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him” (Heb. 5:9). Will you obey Him now?