But John tried to deter him, saying,

“I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” — Matthew 3:14

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It’s a good question: Why did Jesus Christ need to be baptized? That’s basically the question that came out of John the Baptist’s mouth when Jesus came forward to be baptized in the Jordan River.

He knew Jesus was the Messiah, the savior of the world. So John said, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” John makes an excellent point.

If John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance, what sin did Jesus commit that required his repentance?

There wasn’t one! He was perfect! He had never sinned! Between John and Jesus, if one of them needed to be baptized, certainly that someone was John.

Here’s how Jesus responded to John’s protest: “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness” (v. 15).

So, John complied. But the answer “to fulfill all righteousness” doesn’t really clear things up for us, does it? What did Jesus mean? Well, there are at least SEVEN possibilities.

  • 1. To identify himself with sinners
  • 2. To be identified by John
  • 3. To be introduced to the crowd as the messiah
  • 4. To fulfill all righteousness
  • 5. It symbolized his death and resurrection
  • 6. To show that he was ready to start his work
  • 7. To acknowledge the work of John the Baptist as his forerunner


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