Even Christ Himself would undergo baptism.  John the Baptist, like so many other Christians, could not perceive why the sinless Son of God should undergo an ordinance that points to being dead in sin, and raised up to new life by the power of God.  Christ says it was in order “to fulfill all righteousness.”  Whatever else may be involved here, it seems that Jesus is saying that He must participate in what His people are obligated to, in order to fulfill every righteous requirement that God makes of us.  The robe of righteousness that He was weaving must have no hole, but be complete and entire in every part.  In God’s design, baptism was part of that robe of righteousness, and so Jesus must submit to it, even if such submission might seem unnecessary to the unenlightened human intellect.

One of the most glorious announcements in the Bible occurred after Christ’s baptism.  It was this moment that the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, anointing and empowering Him for the great work of His ministry.  There is almost no question at all in my mind that our Lord did no supernatural works before this time.  He was doing a work in living a life free from any stain of sin, thereby achieving a perfect righteousness in which He would clothe His beloved people.  But not until the Holy Spirit descended upon Him was it time for Christ to teach and preach, and to work miracles.  He needed no special empowerment to refrain from sin, for since He was God He could not sin.  But it appears that Christ did nothing extraordinary, as far as doing works beyond the power of nature, until the Spirit descended upon Him like a dove.

Here we see the holy Trinity working in unity for the salvation of the people of God.  Christ the Son is baptized.  The Holy Spirit descends upon Him to anoint Him for the glorious work of His preaching and healing ministry.  And then God the Father speaks from heaven, declaring that Christ is His beloved Son, and that He is well pleased with His Son.  And truly the Father had every reason to be pleased with Christ.  Indeed, He had loved Him before the foundation of the world, as Jesus spoke in His prayer of John 17.  There was a mutual eternal affection between Father and Son, and the assumption of human nature did nothing to diminish that affection.  But in His humanity, Jesus was particularly well pleasing to the Father.  We might accurately say that Christ was the first man who ever, in and of Himself, was pleasing to God.  He was the only man who had ever lived without sin, dwelling upon the earth without ever violating one of God’s laws in principle or in practice.  Righteousness is always pleasing to God, and so the Father was well pleased with Christ for His righteousness’ sake.  The Father was also well pleased because Christ had done, and would do, everything to which He was assigned.  The Father had given Him a mission to accomplish, and so far Jesus had accomplished it all to a jot and a tittle.  This would never change over the coming months, as Christ faced the heated opposition that His ministry would generate.  Every sermon He preached, every leper He cleansed, every person raised from the dead, was all done in perfect and sublime obedience to the eternal purpose wrought in the mind of the Father.  Because Christ, though a Son, learned obedience by the things which He suffered, He was infinitely pleasing to the Father.

This is a subject upon which books could be written, and multitudinous sermons preached.  Yet it suffices us to know that God, the Ruler of all, is perfectly pleased with, and delights in, Christ Jesus, the Son of His love.  This begs the question for us, What do we think of Christ?  Are we pleased with Him?  Do we admire and imitate Him in His holy activities, His gracious teaching, His lion-like boldness?  Does Christ please us even when His teachings cut across the grain of our natural flesh?  This is the case with the true believer.  We admire and applaud everything that Jesus ever did, and would seek to imitate Him insofar as we are able, and God gives us grace.  We would believe both the things He believed (which would include all the Old Testament scriptures), and everything that He taught.  He is our Teacher and Master, and because God His heavenly Father was pleased with Him, so would we be.  We are well pleased, even overjoyed, to call Him our Saviour, and yield heartfelt allegiance to Him.

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