Today, Christians around the world recognize and celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ. But have most of us stopped to think about the actual meaning of that? Why would Christ need to get baptized? He was the only person that did not sin! He would not need to wash away sins like we need to when we get baptized!
Isaiah 42:1-9 (NRSV)
The Servant, a Light to the Nations
42 Here is my servant, whom I uphold,
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard in the street;
3 a bruised reed he will not break,
and a dimly burning wick he will not quench;
he will faithfully bring forth justice.
4 He will not grow faint or be crushed
until he has established justice in the earth;
and the coastlands wait for his teaching.
5 Thus says God, the Lord,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people upon it
and spirit to those who walk in it:
6 I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness,
I have taken you by the hand and kept you;
I have given you as a covenant to the people,
a light to the nations,
7 to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.
8 I am the Lord, that is my name;
my glory I give to no other,
nor my praise to idols.
9 See, the former things have come to pass,
and new things I now declare;
before they spring forth,
I tell you of them.
God sent Christ to be our Savior! Christ came to be a light to the world, like we are to be a light to world as you can see from verse six above! Christ knew what He was coming down to do for human kind. He came to shine as an example of love and equality for all those that believe in Him and His Father!
Acts 10:34-43 (NRSV)
Gentiles Hear the Good News
34 Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality,35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
You can see by these scriptures that Peter is shocked that Jesus Christ was changing religious beliefs of the Jewish people at the time. Peter followed the Jewish religion and was amazed that after his dream that he was invited to eat three times with foods that were not kosher according to Jewish laws, that he saw the changes that Christ was making to not exclude anyone, not even the Gentiles! The Gentiles were given the way to be Christians and know the truth and word of God, as well! Verse 43 of Acts 10 puts it into perfect perspective for us: “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name!”
Matthew 3:13-17 (NRSV)
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”
So here is the answer of why Christ was baptized! Christ needed to show us by example on what is righteous! He needed to be baptized, as we are to be baptized to be part of the family of God’s. Christ is showing us that He needed to be baptized, even though He never sinned in order for God’s blessing to be given to him as our savior and king! (Could imagine being John the Baptist and having Jesus come to you to be baptized? What an amazing exchange of thoughts and words that must have taken place as this scene unfolded! John, even, questioned who was he to baptize Christ and is should be the other way around that he should be asking Christ to baptize him!)
In conclusion, remember that the baptism of Christ is an important event for us to celebrate and remember! Christ shows us the righteous way to live and that He accepted the role that He was in as to become our King and Savior! May we be blessed and realize how we our sins are forgiven because God loves us! Christ loves us and agreed to include all people and all races to be part of His family! God changed to include all Gentiles to be called as Christians, too! Be sure that you are doing justice to being called as a Christian and show the world the love that Jesus taught us!