When Jesus came to be baptized John naturally resisted. John was baptizing people for repentance. John knew Jesus was sinless and did not need to repent of anything. John also acknowledged that he was a sinner like us, “I need to be baptized by you.” But Jesus insisted that john baptize Him. Why?
The 100% right answer is exactly what Jesus told John, “Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented.” (Matthew 3:15)
But what does “to fulfill all righteousness” mean? How did Jesus being baptized “fulfill all righteousness”? Here are at least a few reasons.
Baptism and repentance speak of leaving an old life behind and beginning a new one. It was also a step in the preparation process for a priest in the OT. Jesus was launching His ministry. He was leaving his old life behind and beginning His new life as the Great High Priest.
Additionally, baptism was a way for Him to demonstrate His identification with humanity, Emmanuel, one of us, who are all in need of repentance. At the beginning of His ministry it was a way for Him to demonstrate that he “was numbered with the transgressors”. (Isaiah 53:12)
Finally, His baptism left an example for us to follow. Certainly, if He was baptized, it is something we should put great importance upon and not look at as optional. “It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”
If you haven’t been “buried with Christ” you need to get going. Get wet!
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
2 Corinthians 5:21
God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.