What was the baptism of Jesus like for John the Baptist? At first, he had been reluctant to baptise his relative because he knew that Jesus was very different from all the others who came for baptism (Matt. 3).
John also discovered that participating in the baptism was getting involved in what Jesus called ‘all righteousness’ – perhaps he was encouraging John not to think that it was inappropriate for Jesus to be baptised. Then John recognised the sign that he had been told about by God – the Spirit descending on Jesus (John 1:33). The Forerunner also realised that his relative was the One who would baptise others with the Holy Spirit. So we can assume that John was rejoicing at the fact that Jesus was baptised.
The order of the awareness that Jesus is very different, followed by the willingness to engage in righteousness because Jesus tells us to do so, accompanied by the incredible recognition that Jesus is the promised Messiah, along with the wonderful realisation of what Jesus would do in baptising us with the Spirit, leading to our rejoicing over his activities should be our response as well. After all, although we were not there physically, we can understand more spiritually about the event than those who were.
We cannot help noticing that Jesus honoured an ordinance of God that the best of men would have been willing for him not to undergo. Of course, we know that John was not encouraging disobedience when he expressed surprise at the request of Jesus, but he would have been if he had persisted in doing so. Jesus here is our example not to let great men and leaders prevent us from being obedient to God’s requirements.