Baptized for us

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At Jesus’ baptism the confusion between John and Jesus comes to an end as John says plainly that one more powerful than himself is coming, and at the baptism the voice from heaven declares Jesus as God’s beloved Son. Until this moment the people had been coming to John for a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, but now John will fade into the background as Jesus’ ministry begins. It is critical to realize that Jesus was baptized for us, not for himself. He was baptized in order to take our sin to himself, not to be cleansed from his own sin. This is a very critical move, for John could only tell people to act better according to the law, that is to repent and start doing the right deeds of justice. Jesus, by contrast, will forgive sinners. Instead of John's call to repent in order to be forgiven, Jesus will give forgiveness that produces repentance and new life in the gospel.