January 31, 2022
The Year of our Lord, Jesus Christ
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.
Jesus is speaking to John the Baptist in this verse on the occasion of the Lord’s baptism. At first John forbade His baptism saying …I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? The Lord Jesus replied to John with the above verse. In His reply a gem of truth is relayed that is often overlooked about baptism. Jesus said that baptism is a part of righteousness. It is not all of righteousness, but it is a part of being righteous.
Notice carefully, Jesus said …for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. For Jesus to fulfill all the law so that He would be the perfect sacrifice for sins as the “Lamb of God” He had to fulfill all righteousness. Part of this was to be baptized. So, baptism is an act of righteousness. This is something that many misunderstand.
Baptism does not make a person righteous, but it is a part of being righteous. According to the words of Jesus in this one verse, to fulfil righteousness baptism is required. Jesus, as our example, was baptized. Not because He had sin in His life, not because He needed His sins washed away, but because it is a part of being right with God. Which, of course, is the simplest definition of righteousness; being right with God.
Peter had something to say about baptism being a part of righteousness in I Peter 3:21. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: The answer of a good conscience toward God is obtained through being right with Him which is righteousness. Praise the Lord that the Holy Spirit inspired the disciple to include that clarifying parenthetical statement! If He had not much confusion would have ensued.
In short, the Lord Jesus Christ was baptized as a part of His fulfillment of all righteousness. Today each person that follows the Lord in baptism is doing the same, fulfilling a part of their personal righteousness. This devotion is not a dissertation on baptism, rather it is a glimpse of Jesus’ life of obedience, submission, and ultimate perfection to the will of His Father. What a Man!
Until Next Time,
William T. Howe, Ph.D.