10 As soon as He came up out of the water, He saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending to Him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven:
You are My beloved Son;
I take delight in You!
As a young believer, I was always confused about why Jesus was baptized. He never sinned and this was a sinner’s baptism. So why? The answer is not simply one thing. Like so many events and teaching in Jesus’ ministry it is “multi-faceted” (Ephesians 3:10-12) meaning many reasons are be accomplished in one event. Here are some of those reasons:
1. Jesus’ baptism inaugurated His Public Ministry.
He came for a small town in the middle of nowhere. Jesus was a nobody from a nowhere town. This event is for the Servant King to ascent to the public stage!
2. Jesus’ baptism identified Him with sinful humanity.
Jesus neither repents of sin nor confesses His sin because he has no sin (see 2 Cor. 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). Jesus aligns Himself with those HE came to save!
3. Jesus’ baptism associated Him with John’s Ministry.
There is no hesitation for Jesus to show affirmation and alignment to John the Baptist in regard to the fulfillment of prophecy and his message of repentance. No one had higher praise for John than Jesus.
4. Jesus’ baptism demonstrated His approval by His Father.
Immediate and important work in Mark’s gospel is often times translated “as soon as”. The Holy Spirit descends on Jesus though an opening in the sky. Jesus sees the heaven being “Torn open.” This is the same word that is used to describe the temple curtain being torn from curtain in two from top to bottom! Isaiah 64:1 predicted this event.
5. Jesus’ baptism revealed the triune God.
We see all three persons of the Godhead at Jesus’ baptism. The Son is baptized, the Father speaks, and the Spirit descends into Jesus “like a dove.”
6. Jesus’ baptism showed His total dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 42:1 and Isaiah 11:2. Like a dove (it was not literally a dove), in gentleness and purity, the Spirit came into Jesus, and He was equipped for His ministry. Even though the Spirit came into Jesus, this is not “adoptionistic” Christology. He did not become the Son of God at the moment of His baptism. NO, He was declared to be empowered as the Son of God for the Suffering Servant ministry.
7. Jesus baptism declared the type of Messiah he would be.
Mark 1:11 is surely one of the most important verses in the Bible! It is echoed again at the transfiguration in Mark 9:7, along with the admonition for the disciples to “listen to Him.” It is a combination of three massively significant Old Testament texts. The phrase, “You are My Son” comes from Psalm 2:7, and in quoting this Davidic psalm, the Father announces, “Your are the Messiah King, the grater Son of David who will rule the nations.” In calling Christ “beloved,” we are reminded of the way Abraham saw Isaac, the son who was called to sacrifice in Genesis 22:2. IT BEARS THE WEIGHT OF CHRIST BEING THE “ONE And ONLY” Son of God. The third phrase, “I take delight in You,’ comes from Isaiah 42:1 , which is the first of Isaiah’s Sufferings Servant songs. These passages climax in the great Isaiah 53 text where God crushes the Servant as He bears the sins of the world!