Why was Jesus baptized?
If Jesus didn’t need to be baptized for repentance or remission of sins and was already begotten of the holy spirit, why was he baptized?
It is true that Jesus was a perfect sinless man who was not in need of John’s baptism, which was for repentance of sins. John’s baptism was done in order to bring Jews who recognized their own sinfulness into a proper heart attitude to receive their Messiah.
Why, then, was Jesus baptized? Jesus was baptized for a completely different reason. His baptism was a baptism into death in the sense that he gave up his own will in order to do his father’s will in every aspect of his life, even unto actual death.
Jesus gave up his opportunity to live forever as a perfect man and chose to sacrifice his will and be wrongfully put to death in order to pay the ransom price that would redeem Adam and the entire human race from sin and death. His reward for this sacrifice was immortality in heaven.
Although Jesus was God’s first and only direct creation (Colossians 1:15) and was a co-creator with his Father in heaven prior to his walk on earth (Colossians 1:16-17), he was not immortal. He needed to be mortal in order to actually die on the cross.
“For just as through the disobedience of the one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19
Jesus made the decision to sacrifice his will as well as his perfect human life prior to his immersion by John. The immersion was a symbol of that decision. God’s manifestation of his acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice waited until after Jesus had performed the symbol. It was after Jesus came up out of the water (representing death of his human life and begettal of a new spiritual life) that God gave Jesus an outward sign of his holy spirit descending upon him in the form of a dove. “And a voice from heaven said,
“This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’” Matthew 3:17
We believe that when Christians decide to give their hearts to the Lord they make a covenant of sacrifice of self-will just as Jesus did at Jordan. Their total immersion (baptism) is an outward manifestation of a life decision already made to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and crucify self-will.
“I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Psalm 40:8
To learn more about baptism listen to, “How Many Baptisms Are There?”