Main point summary
When Jesus is baptised by John, in submission to God, the Father and the Spirit bear witness that Jesus is the beloved Servant-King who enjoys the pleasure of his Father.
k Then Jesus came l from Galilee to the Jordan to John,
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. 20
to be baptized by him.
m John would have prevented him,
But John 21 tried to prevent 22 him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?”
“I need to be baptized by you,
and do you come to me?”
But Jesus answered him,
So Jesus replied 23 to him, “Let it happen now, 24 for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John 25 yielded 26 to him.
“Let it be so now,
for thus it is fitting for us
to fulfill all righteousness.”
Then he consented.
And when Jesus was baptized,
After 27 Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the 28 heavens 29 opened 30 and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove 31 and coming on him.
immediately he went up from the water,
and behold, o the heavens were opened to him, 1
and he p saw the Spirit of God
descending like a dove
and coming to rest on him;
and behold, q a voice from heaven said,
And 32 a voice from heaven said, 33 “This is my one dear Son; 34 in him 35 I take great delight.” 36
r “This is my beloved Son, 1
with whom I am well pleased.”
Mk 1:9 speaks specifically of Nazareth. Lk 3 and Mk 1 also imply that John was the one who did the baptising, although Matthew specifies it. So Jesus comes from Nazareth in order to be baptised by John, and as a result, the Father bears witness to his Son.
OT Isa 64:1 Eze 1:1 NT cf. Ac 7:56 Rev 4:1; 19:11
Mt 17:5; Jn 12:28
See: - Mt 1:22-23 - Mt 2:15 - Mt 2:17-18 - Mt 2:23
The Son is Baptised (3:13-17, cf. Mk 1:9-11 & Lk 3:21-22) 3:13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. While John was baptising (Lk 3:21), Jesus shows up as well, coming from Nazareth (see Mk 1:9) in Galilee to the Jordan with the intention of getting baptised by John. Luke and Mark imply John’s baptism in their contexts, while Matthew makes this explicit. 3:14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” Mt 3:14-15 is not found in Luke and Mark. But based on Jn 1:31-34, it seems unlikely that John recognised his cousin to be Messiah, but it seems strange that Elizabeth and Zechariah did not tell him of his cousin whose birth was more incredible than his own. Ever humble, he recognised that the man before him had nothing to repent from and so tries to prevent Jesus and insists that he be baptised by Jesus instead. Earlier John had difficulty baptizing the Pharisees and Sadducees because they were not worthy of his baptism. Now he has trouble baptizing Jesus because his baptism is not worthy of Jesus (Ibid. p. 258). 3:15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. Jesus’ response to John doesn’t dismiss what John is implying —let this be so now. It is more appropriate that Jesus baptise John, yet ‘now’, there is a greater need for Jesus and John to ‘fulfill all righteousness’. Righteousness in Matthew’s gospel does not carry the same meaning as Paul, who usually connotes a right standing before God. Matthew uses the word to indicate a conformity to the will of God, like in Mt 1:19. A righteous person, then, is one who seeks to live in harmony with God from his heart. So if Jesus is talking of fulfilling all righteousness, he is underscoring the necessity of conforming to the will of God. John’s baptism pointed to the kingdom and its king, especially in focussing on repentance. While Jesus had nothing to repent from , Matthew’s recording has much to do with Jesus’ submission to the will of God. And this Jesus is the king. Yet, as vv16-17 point, he is also an obedient, suffering Servant. So now , Jesus must be baptised to demonstrate his willingness to fulfil his calling as God’s Suffering Servant, while also authenticating John’s ministry. Enveloped in this is that the Servant identifies with his people, specifically the righteous remnant (3:10-12) and looks forward to continued obedience to God to the point of suffering and dying and rising again (which Christian baptism takes its symbolism from). It is not surprising that Jesus alludes to ‘fulfilment’ —he, after all, fulfills all God's promises. Jn 1:33-34 clarifies this aspect —the revealing of the Son of God to Israel, as the one who baptises with the Holy Spirit. All of this is validated by what follows in vv16-17. 3:16-17 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” Matthew carefully grounds what he says in time: “when Jesus was baptised, immediately…”. What follows then, is almost as a result of Jesus’ willingness to be baptised. Jesus remains the subject and we see ‘the heavens’ being ‘opened’ to Jesus, similar to instances that precede great visions (see Eze 1:1, Rev 19:11). John too sees this (Jn 1:32), and Lk 3:22 specifies that the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form, like a dove, and this vision takes the reader back to Is 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth [righteousness] to the nations. Not only is the Spirit of God physically seen to to be ‘put…upon him’, the God in the heavens who seemed silent for so long speaks aloud, revealing himself to humanity and vindicating the man who just came out of the water (Is 50:7-8). Cf. Mt 12:28; Lk 4:18ff and Acts 10:38. The descent and resting of the Spirit indicates Jesus’ anointing for ministry. Matthew’s recording of God’s word is a clear allusion to God’s word in the past, especially Ps 2:7 and Is 42:1, and both make perfect sense considering Jesus’ earlier commitment to ‘fulfill all righteousness’: In alluding to Is 42:1, we see Jesus’ role as God’s Suffering servant whom God calls ‘in righteousness’ (Is 42:6) to bring forth and establish righteousness on the earth (Is 42:1,2,4). No wonder then, that Jesus’ desire to be baptised is tied to his obedience —he is God’s servant. Mt 2:23 and the temptations that follow in Mt 4:1-11 only make this more prominent. This servant will not run after anything but the will of God (Is 50:4-9). In God calling Jesus ‘my Son’, we see allusions to the Davidic covenant where Davidic heirs are adopted as ‘sons of God’ (2 Sam. 7:13-14; Ps. 2:7; 89:26-29). Here, however, is great David’s greater Son (Matt. 1:20; 2:15; 4:3, 6). It must not be forgotten that this Son was also the seed of Abraham (Mt. 1:1) and the mediator of the New Covenant. Israel also was called God’s son and God’s servant (Is 44:1-2). Matthew already identifies Jesus as a better, true Israel in Mt 2:15, quoting Hos 11. Now God confirms the connection between the shadow (the nation) and the substance (the King), a connection that the servant songs of Is 42-53 talk of as well. Yet, apart from Biblical history, this Jesus was conceived from the Holy Spirit. In other words, he isn’t only a man. Here then are veiled implications of the Son as a Divine Son of God, the second person of the Trinity (keeping in mind that all three persons are in view here) In one stroke, Matthew alludes to all of this. God here, presents this man Jesus as the Davidic Messiah, the mediator of God’s promises, the representative of Israel, the Suffering Servant and the very Son of God. Indeed, he definitely cites Isaiah 42:1–4 in Matthew 12:18–21, which ends with the assertion (already made clear) that the nations will trust in this Servant (Ibid. p. 261). It must be noted that this pouring out of the Spirit does not change Jesus’ status or rights, but identifies him to be the promised Son and Servant.
Who is Jesus to you? What keeps us from focusing on obeying ‘now’ ? In the presence of Jesus, do we recognise our need for him? What within this passage leads you to worship God?
The Baptism of Jesus 9 r In those days Jesus s came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he t saw u the heavens being torn open v and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And w a voice came from heaven, x “You are my beloved Son; 1 with you I am well pleased.”
21 Now when all the people were baptized, and when c Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, d the heavens were opened, 22 and e the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and f a voice came from heaven, g “You are my beloved Son; 1 with you I am well pleased.” 2