#3: To Fulfill All Righteousness

I hope you’re enjoying our study of Mark, with our goal being to know Jesus better! Be sure to check out the first two blogs of this series in the archive if you’ve missed them. Today we’re looking at the first public act of Jesus’ ministry—His baptism. Open your Bible and get ready to dig into scripture!

Read Mark 1:9-13.

John the Baptist had been working for some time, calling people to repentance and baptizing them in the Jordan River. He’d gotten a lot of attention (Mk. 1:5), fulfilling his mission to get people ready for God to move.

Then out of the crowds lining the Jordan’s banks stepped Jesus. If as an unborn baby in his mother’s womb John had “leaped” in recognition of the unborn Christ (Lk. 1:41-44), imagine his heart pounding as he saw Jesus step into the water and wade toward him. John’s first thought was that Jesus had come to baptize him. But Jesus made clear what He’d come for: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” (Mt. 3:15)

What did Jesus mean? Why did He, sinless as He was, want to be baptized?

1. Remember His purpose, as the Word become flesh (see the first post in this series). He was here to demonstrate how God would live as a man. What does a man need to do to be right with God? Jesus was answering that question, showing the complete picture.

2. As Jesus came up out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended like a dove (Luke is careful to say “in bodily form”—no ethereal vision) and the voice of God the Father spoke. Jesus was clearly identified as the Son of God. For the first time in roughly thirty years, the three persons of the Godhead were seen in active collaboration in one location. How “at home” Jesus must have felt, having so long been out of His element, relinquishing His glory and being made in human likeness (Phil. 2:6-7)!

3. John witnessed this pre-appointed sign by which he’d been told he would recognize the Christ. John said, “…The one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is he who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testify that this is the Son of God.” (Jn. 1:33-34). The events at Jesus’ baptism were the testimony given to the testifier.

4. Jesus’ public ministry was initiated. From this point, John’s work would soon be complete and Jesus would take the forefront. The Spirit’s work through Jesus evidently “began” at this time. There is no scriptural evidence of any childhood miracles or other signs of His deity prior to this—other than the perfection of his life. In fast, the Bible says that Jesus first miracle occurred shortly after his baptism (Jn. 2:11). From His baptism on, men began to see glimpses of Jesus’ true glory and power.

Out of obscurity, Jesus steps onto the stage of public ministry—a “new life.” At our baptism, we too begin a new life (Romans 6:4). With sins forgiven and the Holy Spirit in residence (Acts 2:38), we are:
• born again (Jn. 3:3, 5-6)
• identified as sons and daughters of God (1 Jn. 3:1a)
• commissioned to a new work for God (Mt. 28:19-20; Eph. 2:10)!
The old is gone, the new has come! (2 Cor. 5:17)

What do you think?

How powerful is the example of Jesus’ baptism—especially in light of His perfection?

How powerful is the change that took place in your life at your baptism?

© Diane McLoud 2013

6 Comments on “#3: To Fulfill All Righteousness

  1. I was baptized when I was 12, I believe, – at a little Baptist church in Youngstown, just a block away from the church I attended, which was a little Pentecostal church. I remember it clearly even after all these years. Christ never let go, even when my path veered, and He brought me back to Him. He is Faithful.

  2. (What is URL?) I gave my heart to the Lord at a church camp when I was 10. (Yeah, church camps!) Then at age 12 I was presented with an opportunity to be baptized and so I did. It was also in Youngstown, but at a big Pentecostal Humbard church. I felt marked or directed by God from that day forward. Good memories…life changing memories!

    • Hi Becky! Welcome to the conversation. I was baptized 45 years ago, almost to the day—May 20, 1968. My heart has always been with Him. Like Timothy, I was raised to know Him — and am grateful for a great heritage of faith that goes back many generations. I love hearing each one’s story!

  3. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was almost 6, I remember doing so at my grandma’s house after church, I was also raised to know The Lord, but a short time later, my world changed a great deal when my parents divorced. I fell away from God for sometime but always felt a pull from him. I didn’t get baptized until July 11, 2003, the night before my wedding, with my husband to be in the hotel pool, from my husband’s grandfather who was a paster and also married us. What a blessing to be married into such a family of believers. This is one of my favorite memories.

    • God keeps pulling us toward Him, leading us until we “fulfill all righteousness.” Thanks for sharing, Jenelle!

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