Read: Mark 1:9-11
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. [But] John would have prevented him. (Matt. 3:13-14)
William Barclay says the following about John the Baptist: “John’s one aim was not to occupy the centre of the stage himself, but to try to connect men with the one who was greater and stronger than he . . . the one whom all men need.”
If that is true, why did Jesus have himself baptized by John? John’s baptism was a baptism for repentance of sins, and being sinless, Jesus did not need to repent. Indeed, in Matthew’s account of this scene, John tries to deter Jesus from being baptized by him. “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” (v. 14). Finally John consents, but the whole thing does sound a little odd.
The key lies in Jesus’ desire to identify with the movement toward God that John had begun. Jesus saw both John and his message as authentic and knew that John was preparing the way for him. And the whole thing was authenticated by the voice of God confirming that Jesus was God’s beloved Son.
Years ago, the pastors where I lived invited an evangelist to speak. He had some different theological views than the rest of us, but we still participated. Why? Because obviously God was working through this man’s ministry. Differences fall away when God’s message in Christ is central. —John Koedyker
Prayer: Lord, make us one so that the world may know of your love (John 17:23). Amen.