Q. Why was Jesus baptized?
From the Jan 26th, 2011, Louisburg Journal
A. When Jesus was baptized he was being anointed as king, king of the Jews. Jesus was of the tribe of Judah, and from that tribe came the one who would rightfully sit upon Israel’s throne. Jesus was Israel’s last and great king, for there is no king after him. He was anointed by John the Baptist with water, just as David was anointed as king by Samuel with oil. When David was anointed, nearly 1000 years before Jesus, the Spirit of God departed from Saul and came upon him (1 Samuel 16). Likewise, when Jesus was anointed king, the Spirit of God was seen descending upon him and God spoke from heaven a Psalm — Psalm 2. Psalm 2 is a royal Psalm about the installment of Israel’s rightful king. This is why Jesus said his baptism was necessary to fulfill all righteousness (Matthew 3:15), for it was right that he would take his seat in an official and public way, anointed by a prophet.
In this way, the baptism of Jesus is of a different kind than ours. He was not repenting of sin (he knew no sin), and whereas our baptism signifies union with Christ, his did not signifying union with himself. When Jesus was baptized, he was being anointed king, and when they crucified him the charge was that he had claimed the royal seat. The baptism of Jesus was politically seditious in the light of the established power structures. And just as the anointing of David made him an enemy to Saul, so Jesus lived his life outside of Jerusalem, rejected and despised. In fact, he died outside the city, wounded and alone, for that city was not large enough to hold him. And in dying outside the gate, he opened up a new city, one of salvation, and gifted it to others like a king who bestows his treasures upon friends.
“Therefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Hence, let us go out to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come,” Heb 13:12-14. Christian baptism turns out to be like the baptism of Jesus, for it means we live outside the gates with faith-sensitized eyes that are fixed upon a better city.