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Why did Jesus need to be baptized?

Over the years, countless Bible expositors have questioned the need for Jesus to be baptized by John the Baptist. If indeed his life was sinless, why was it necessary for Jesus to submit to a baptism of repentance for remission of sins, which is what John’s baptism was all about? The answer is quite simple. The baptism of Jesus was done to fulfill the prophecy about everlasting righteousness that was specified in Dan. 9:24, and it served as a public announcement of the identity of the “anointed one” specified in Dan. 9:27, the one who would confirm the New Covenant that had been promised by God through the prophet Jeremiah c. 620 BCE. (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

The baptism of Jesus was the fulfillment of the fourth Messianic sign given in the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks in Dan. 9:24: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” Note that there are six items that must happen during the Seventy Weeks (the six signs that would identify the Messiah), as follows: 1) to finish the transgression, 2) to make an end of sins, 3) to make reconciliation for iniquity, 4) to bring in everlasting righteousness, 5) to seal up the vision and prophecy, and 6) to anoint the most Holy (i.e., most Holy person). As indicated above, the fourth item of the six items that are required to happen during the seventy weeks is “to bring in everlasting righteousness”.

That fourth item, “to bring in everlasting righteousness”, was fulfilled by the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. The baptism event is described in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, And, note that it had to occur before the Day of Pentecost in 28 CE according to the chronological constraints spelled out in the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks (see chapter starting on page 21 in my book The Messiah Prophecy for a full explanation of the Seventy Weeks). The account of the baptism that is most pertinent to Dan. 9:24, in that it pointedly identifies that event with the bringing in of “everlasting righteousness” required by the prophecy in Daniel, verse 24, is given in the Gospel of Matthew, as follows:

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13-17; cf. Psalm 50:6 “And the heavens shall declare his righteousness …”)

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