For thirty years, Jesus had stayed in Nazareth faithfully doing His work, probably at home after the death of Joseph. He must have longed for a sign to lead Him out into the Father’s will for His life’s purpose, His Father’s business. The emergence of John the Baptist was that sign. Jesus knew it was time.
Mark 1:4-8 (KJV) “4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”
John had baptized many people who had repented and believed his message that the Messiah would soon appear. When Jesus came to be baptized, John didn’t yet realize that He was the Messiah, so it wasn’t for that reason that he was hesitant to baptize Jesus. He must have been hesitant because, when he compared himself to perfect and sinless Jesus, his own sinfulness was evident. That is why John suggested that Jesus baptize him! This reveals to us that Jesus had a reputation of being a very holy person, which we would have expected anyway since we know Jesus never sinned.
It was right after John baptized Jesus that John saw the Holy Spirit descend upon Him in the form of a dove. God had foretold John that when he saw that happen, it would reveal the person who was the Savior. Can you imagine how John felt at that moment when Jesus came up out of the water? His own relative, the most holy person he had ever met, was actually God’s Son! For thirty years Jesus had kept it a secret! From then on John began to tell everyone that Jesus was the Son of God. The secret was out!
His baptism by John the Baptist signifies His commitment to be the Savior. In other words, by being baptized Jesus yielded Himself up without any reserve to do His Father’s will, even if it involved the cross.
Now the issue faces us: Do we as the servants of the Lord, the servants of Christ, surrender ourselves to God, whatever the consequences may be? This is what the Lord was doing, consecrating Himself to be the Savior, to fulfill all righteousness.