Daily Archives: July 24, 2007

The Baptism of Jesus Christ: Introduction


The baptism of Jesus simultaneously marks the inauguration of Jesus' earthly ministry as well as marking the beginning of the decline of John the Baptist's ministry. MacArthur is among many who consider the baptism of Jesus to be little more than an example for us to follow.1 Yet it is in fact so much more. It is at the baptism that those who are most prone to responding to their Messiah are gathered in repentance.
Many in Israel wondered if John might be the Messiah. Yet the last prophet declares with assurance that he is not even worthy to untie the laces of the Messiah's sandals (Matthew 3:11). John, the official herald of the coming king was waiting for the Christ to be revealed. The baptism of Jesus fulfills that need as the Messiah is identified to John by a special theophany of the Holy Spirit. It is this identification which enables the Baptist to complete his task as herald (John 1:29-34). But the herald must wait his turn to announce the king's arrival; the first public announcement is made by God the Father himself.
Here at his baptism the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus is first prefigured. It is here at his baptism that the perfect one intentionally identifies himself with repentant sinners, and demonstrates his full humility. It is at his baptism where the redemptive ministry of Jesus Christ begins.