Baptism of Christ

Christ had to be formally inaugurated into the public discharge
of his offices. For this purpose he came to John, who was the
representative of the law and the prophets, that by him he might
be introduced into his offices, and thus be publicly recognized
as the Messiah of whose coming the prophecies and types had for
many ages borne witness.

John refused at first to confer his baptism on Christ, for he
understood not what he had to do with the "baptism of
repentance." But Christ said, "'Suffer it to be so now,' NOW as
suited to my state of humiliation, my state as a substitute in
the room of sinners." His reception of baptism was not necessary
on his own account. It was a voluntary act, the same as his act
of becoming incarnate. Yet if the work he had engaged to
accomplish was to be completed, then it became him to take on
him the likeness of a sinner, and to fulfil all righteousness
(Matt. 3:15).

The official duty of Christ and the sinless person of Christ
are to be distinguished. It was in his official capacity that he
submitted to baptism. In coming to John our Lord virtually said,
"Though sinless, and without any personal taint, yet in my
public or official capacity as the Sent of God, I stand in the
room of many, and bring with me the sin of the world, for which
I am the propitiation." Christ was not made under the law on his
own account. It was as surety of his people, a position which he
spontaneously assumed. The administration of the rite of baptism
was also a symbol of the baptism of suffering before him in this
official capacity (Luke 12:50). In thus presenting himself he in
effect dedicated or consecrated himself to the work of
fulfilling all righteousness.