Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Meaning of Jesus’ Baptism


 As a full-grown man, Jesus was to be the exact equivalent of the once perfect Adam. (Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:45) This means that Jesus had to be born perfect. How was that possible? The angel Gabriel gave this clear explanation to Jesus’ mother, Mary: “Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.” (Luke 1:35) Early in Jesus’ life, Mary apparently disclosed to Jesus certain facts about his birth. Thus, on one occasion when Mary and Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph, found Jesus in God’s temple, the young child asked: “Did you not know that I must be in the house of my Father?” (Luke 2:49) Evidently from an early age, Jesus knew that he was God’s Son. Magnifying God’s righteousness was therefore of great importance to him.

 Jesus showed his keen interest in spiritual things by regularly attending meetings for worship. With his perfect mind, he must have absorbed everything he heard and read in the Hebrew Scriptures. (Luke 4:16) He also had another precious possession—a perfect human body that could be sacrificed in behalf of mankind. When he was baptized, Jesus was praying and may have been thinking about the prophetic words of Psalm 40:6-8.—Luke 3:21; read Hebrews 10:5-10.

 John the Baptizer initially wanted to prevent Jesus from getting baptized. Why? Because John was immersing Jews in symbol of their repentance over sin against the Law. As a close relative, John must have known that Jesus was righteous and therefore in no need of repentance. Jesus assured John that it was fitting for Him to be baptized. “In that way,” Jesus explained, “it is suitable for us to carry out all that is righteous.”—Matt. 3:15.

 As a perfect human, Jesus could have concluded that he, like Adam, had the potential for fathering a perfect race. However, Jesus never desired such a future because it was not Jehovah’s will for him. God had sent Jesus to the earth to fulfill the role of the promised Seed, or Messiah. This included Jesus’ sacrificing his perfect human life. (Read Isaiah 53:5, 6, 12.) Of course, Jesus’ baptism did not have the same meaning as ours does. It did not involve dedication to Jehovah, since Jesus was already part of God’s dedicated nation of Israel. Rather, Jesus’ baptism symbolized the presentation of himself to do God’s will as outlined in the Scriptures for the Messiah.

 Jehovah’s will for Jesus involved preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom, making disciples, and preparing them for future disciple-making work. Jesus’ presentation of himself also included his willingness to endure persecution and a cruel death in support of Jehovah God’s righteous sovereignty. Because Jesus truly loved his heavenly Father, he was delighted to do God’s will and found it deeply satisfying to present his body as a sacrifice. (John 14:31) It also pleased him to know that the value of his perfect life could be offered to God as a ransom to buy us back from slavery to sin and death. Did God approve of Jesus’ presentation of himself to shoulder these great responsibilities? He did indeed!

 All four Gospel writers testify to Jehovah God’s clear expression of approval as Jesus came up from the waters of the Jordan River. “I viewed the spirit coming down as a dove out of heaven,” testified John the Baptizer, “and it remained upon [Jesus] . . . And I have seen it, and I have borne witness that this one is the Son of God.” (John 1:32-34) Moreover, on that occasion Jehovah declared: “This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.”—Matt. 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22

Why not check the Scriptures here?


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Christian view the Bible as the inspired Word of God, absolute truth, beneficial for teaching and disciplining mankind.