When I was younger, I would wonder, if Jesus is God, why did he need to be baptized? Have you ever asked yourself that question?
Even John the Baptist is surprised by Jesus’ request to be baptized. The answer is found in Jesus’ response to John: “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” In effect, Jesus is saying, we need to do all that has been laid down by God the Father in His plan; Jesus needed to do the Will of His Father. The entire significance of Jesus’ baptism, the fact that Jesus bears all righteousness, comes to light on the Cross: this baptism of Jesus is an acceptance of death for the sins of all humanity, our sins… in Jesus’ own words, “to fulfill all righteousness.”
How do we know? We know two things. First, St Luke tells us, “… Jesus also had been baptized and was praying. Heaven was opened.” Jesus was talking to His Father as he came out of the waters of the Jordan. God the Father anoints Jesus with the Holy Spirit and tells us, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” And second, because of Jesus’ prayer to His Father in Gethsemane: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” Everything Jesus did was to fulfill the Will of His Father.
The reminder and the challenge for us today? A reminder that Jesus came into this world to restore our relationship with God the Father and to save us from sin and death. The challenge for us, as His adopted brothers and sisters, is to follow in His footsteps in obedience to God’s Will. Follow the example of our adopted brother, Jesus. The reward, well, it’s heavenly.
By Deacon Chuck Hoppe