13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him.
14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
15 But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
Reading the Gospels in order, these are the first recorded words of Jesus (i.e.: printed in Red Letters) that I come to. Going strictly by a timeline, there is one exception; Luke records in Luke 2:49 His response to His parents when they found Him in the temple at age twelve. I’ll see what I get from that verse when I get to the Gospel of Luke.
Looking at these, His first recorded words then with verse 13 – 14 as context:
Jesus came to John at the Jordon River because God the Father directed Him to do so. I believe I can safely say that because in another scripture (John 5:19) Jesus said that “the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing.” Jesus came humbly, submitting to John and the water baptism that he had been performing for some time in the river. It sounds funny when John the Baptist says “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?”
John the Baptist knew who Jesus was and what He was (see Per John 1:26ff). He announced Him to the bystanders as “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
But Jesus, who knew no sin, came and requested this Baptism of repentance because it was what the Father wanted. This is the God of the universe humbly requesting and submitting to John’s water baptism.
That’s what I observe in this passage. Now what lesson is in there for me?
First I learn the lesson of humility. When God calls me to do something, I should never let my pride get in the way of doing exactly what I am called to do. There is always a reason that we are called to certain tasks, even when we can’t see at the moment. So if I follow Jesus, then I need to mimic Him in this lesson of humility.
Second, I learn to be gentle in my response. Note how Jesus, very gently and I imagine quietly, responds to Johns attempt at refusal. He simply says- “…Permit it to be so now “.
Be gentle, be humble and be firm when you know you are doing what you are called to do.