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  Bible Question:  Does the Bible tell us that John's baptism of Jesus fulfilled the law, and that it was completed by Jesus' baptism? What does it mean that Jesus' baptism fulfilled "all righteousness"?
 
Bible Answer:  In Matthew 3:13-15 we read,
 
  Then Jesus arrived from Galilee at the Jordan coming to John, to be baptized by him. But John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I have need to be baptized by You, and do You come to me?” But Jesus answering said to him, “Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he permitted Him. (NASB) Matt. 3:13-15
 
The key phrase in this passage says that Jesus wanted to be baptized in order to "fulfill all righteousness." The Greek word for "fulfill" is PLEROO which means "to fulfill" or "to complete." Now why would Jesus want to be baptized? What does this reveal about Jesus' heart attitude? Before we answer that question, we need to see a few things.
      John's Baptism. First, John the Baptist's baptism was for those who sin. That is, his baptism was for every man and woman who has ever believed and will live on this earth. Baptism symbolized a man's and woman's sorrow over his or her sin and the desire to stop sinning.
 
  John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (NASB) Mark 1:4
 
. . . and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins. (NASB) Matt. 3:6
 
John's baptism was not for Jesus. Jesus was sinless and He did not need to be forgiven. So then why did Jesus want to be baptized?
      Considerations. Some believe that Jesus came to fulfill some Old Testament law or prophecy. But this is difficult to accept, since religious washing symbolized the cleansing of sin from the one who was being washed. Jesus was sinless! Did Jesus want to be identified with John's ministry? This is true, since John was the forerunner for Jesus (Luke 1:17). Was this a handoff of ministry from John to Jesus?
      Sign To John. The first reason that we can confidently give for Jesus to be baptized was to prove to John that Jesus was the Messiah. God had promised to show John who the Messiah was by giving him a sign.
     
 
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