Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" Jesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consented. -- Matthew 3:13-15
COMMENT: This is one of the exquisite moments in the Bible. Given the truth that Jesus is God and came to reveal the Father to us, what does this exchange between Jesus and John have to say to us?
Jesus has come to be baptized; for what we are not told. John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance, yet Jesus needed no repentance. It was, however, a moment of great change (definition of "repent") for Jesus. Prior to his baptism, we have only a small record of his life. It was at this point that his purpose for coming to the earth begins to be realized.
Now, note the demeanor of the two men. John humbled, ostensibly because he knows who Jesus is. Jesus’ response is “Let it be so now.” This is not couched as a command for John to obey, it is a gentle request. It is from one man to another. Jesus treats John with dignity and respect. He could have demanded. He did not. He could have treated John as the inferior that he was. He did not.
I find this exchange most ratifying. It tells me that Jesus does not treat me as he has the credentials to do. I am a sinful man, yet he does not treat me as sinful. My “righteousness” is as filth, yet he accepts me as a friend, as someone whom he respects and loves. John must have been amazed at Jesus’ response to him and his clear affirmation of his work. John, for all of his calling, was no less a sinner than any of us, yet Jesus affirms him. Jesus endorses him. Jesus says to John, we are in this together.
This to "fulfill all righteousness." As we serve the Lord each day in our own pedestrian way, we should remember that Jesus affirms us every moment. He dignifies us with his presence, with his participation, indeed, his empowerment in what he has selected us to do, our "place" in the completion of his plan.