This is My Beloved Son
Numbers 8:6-7 Numbers 8:11 1 Chron 24:1-3, 10 Numbers 4:47 Luke 1:15 Matt 5:17
Baptism was used in the Old Testament, but it was in the form of consecration. When a priest reached the age at which he was to enter his public ministry he was baptised (Numbers 8:6-7). He was consecrated, set apart, showing that God had called him into service in God’s kingdom.
Jesus' baptism would represent His entry into public ministry.
Matthew records that Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptised by John, showing His approval of John's baptism, bearing witness to it, that it was from heaven and approved by God.
Jesus says to John at this point that it is appropriate for us to fulfil all righteousness. He does not say, it is appropriate for me to fulfil all righteousness by being baptised, this is something that both needed to do.
Notice as well that He clarifies to John, He is not being baptised because He needs repentance. He is being baptised in order to fulfil all righteousness; to fulfil all right standing before God.
Unlike John, Jesus was not a Levite, but His baptism still represents His entry into public ministry, saying that He was consecrated, set apart, showing that God had called him into service and that he was to serve in His Father’s kingdom, and aligning Himself with the Father. The Father’s response “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” (Lk3:22)
So, the million-dollar question, why did Jesus come to John to be baptised?
Jesus had to fulfil the requirements of the Law, if He didn’t then He would be guilty of sin, which He wasn’t.
So why John?
Zacharias and Elizabeth were walking in the ordinances of the Lord, blameless.
Elizabeth was a daughter of Aaron.
Zacharias was of the course of Abia. The course (or family) of Abia was the eighth family set up by David to perform the ordinances of the Lord. (1Ch 24:1-10)
We can establish here that John is a direct descendant of Aaron, and by the time of Jesus’ baptism I suspect that Zacharias had passed away which makes John the rightful High Priest in Judea.
From Luke we see that John is a great prophet. (Luke 7:26 to 28)
John was a Prophet and a Priest, he was probably the only person in Israel that Jesus could come to in order for the Law to be fulfilled.
John as a Prophet was able to ceremonially wash Jesus for His consecration as our Great High Priest. (Leviticus 8)
John as a Priest was able to offer Jesus before the Lord as a wave offering for the people of Israel, that He may do the service of the Lord for His 3½ year ministry on earth. (Numbers 8:11)
So, in the same manner that the great prophet Moses publicly gave Aaron his ceremonial washing, before he was consecrated as the first high priest of the Old Covenant, John the Baptist would likewise ceremonially wash Jesus as the first and only Great High Priest of the New Covenant. And, as a priest of the Aaronic priesthood, John was able to present Him as a wave offering before the Lord.
We know the Father’s response to this ceremony was “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased” and the descending of Holy Spirit in the form of the dove upon Jesus. Here we have a picture of the Triune Everlasting God in complete unity about the journey that they will walk in the next 3½ years.
It also depicts the work of the Father, Son and Spirit in the salvation of those Jesus came to save. The Father loves the elect from before the foundation of the world, He sends His Son to seek and save the lost, and Holy Spirit convicts of sin and draws the believer to the Father through the Son. All the glorious truth of the mercy of God through Jesus Christ is on display at His baptism.
Prayer: Father God, as we in obedience go through the waters of baptism, help us to see how we too are consecrated into service in Your Kingdom by the power of Holy Spirit.