Thursday, May 1, 2008



When Jesus came to John and asked to be baptized, John hesitated, for he thought he should be the one baptized by Jesus. Various explanations have been given for Jesus’ baptism. It can be definitely stated that Jesus was not baptized for the forgiveness of sin and He was not repenting of sin, because the Scriptures say that He was without sin:

Heb 4:15

15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Some have suggested that He was identifying Himself with the nation of Israel, but the reason that Jesus gave was that He wanted to “fulfill all righteousness”.

Matt 3:15

15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Immediately after this baptism in water, He was anointed by the Spirit of God:

Matt 3:16

16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

These two things, His sinlessness and anointing – make His baptism different from all others.


Priests were anointed for ministry:

Ex 30:30

30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office.

Kings were also anointed:

1 Sam 16:13

13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the LORD came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

God had some prophets anointed although the Scripture does not record a formal anointing with oil for most of them:

1 Kings 19:16

16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.


One of the ministries of the Messiah was that of a priest. The book of Hebrews speaks of Jesus as being of a new order of priesthood after the order of Melchizedek. But since Jesus was a Prophet, a Priest, and a King, and of a newer and greater order than of any of the Old Testament, God would not have to exactly follow any Old Testament patterns. After all, they only pointed toward His ministry.

It would appear that as Jesus began His ministries, He was symbolically washed in baptism, anointed by the Holy Spirit, and accepted by the Father. The Father gave His approval by saying:

Matt 3:17

17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

The Father also identified Him as “His Son,” the promised King of Psalm 2:6-12. Christ assumed His ministries not by virtue of any ritual or human ordination but by God’s appointment and approval. It seems reasonable to understand that God was presenting Jesus to the nation of Israel in this way and in a manner reflecting these Old Testament teachings.

Note that Jesus did not begin all three of these ministries at the same time. He performed a prophetic ministry at His first coming, He entered into His high-priestly ministry at His ascension, and His Kingly ministry will begin at His second coming.


One element is missing in the symbolism of the Old Testament – the blood:

Heb 9:21-22

21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.

22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
[See also Lev. 8:12, 23].

On the day of Atonement the high priest first offered a sacrifice for himself and then for the nation; but because Jesus was sinless, no personal sacrifice was necessary.

No animal sacrifice would do for Christ because He was going to minister by virtue of “His own blood:”

Heb 9:12

12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

After His temptation when He demonstrated His holiness, John the Baptist pointed Him out as “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29). We are redeemed by “the precious blood of Christ as the Lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Pet. 1:19).


John’s baptism was of repentance and directed towards the nation:

Matt 3:2
Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

The promised King had arrived and was ready to set up His kingdom. Jesus’ disciples practiced the same baptism of repentance (John 4:1-2). As we have seen Jesus’ baptism by John was different. Therefore, Christian baptism practiced after Pentecost and after Christ’s death and resurrection is also different. It has a different formula: “…In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 28:19). There is also a new and deeper meaning as we symbolically are identified with His death, burial, and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-6). But this identification is not just with His past; we are also identified with His glorious future. We are called as kings and priests unto God (1n Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6). As Christ’s new body, the Church, we continue His prophetic ministry by proclaiming the gospel to the world – speaking for God to man. We have a present and future ministry as priests – speaking for man to God. When Christ returns and establishes His kingdom those that overcome will rule with Him – ruling men for God. Baptism symbolizes what faith in Christ’s death has accomplished for us: we have been cleansed, anointed, and called to share in the ministry of Jesus as prophets, priests, and kings.


After Jesus returned from His forty days of temptations, John the Baptist pointed Him out as “the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world” (John 1:29). Some of John’s disciples came and acquainted with Jesus and later became His disciples. Andrew went and told his brother Simon that he had found the Messiah (John 1:41). Philip and Nathaniel exclaimed; “We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write” (John 1:45). After Nathaniel had met Jesus, he said, “Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:49).

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