Baptism of our Lord

One event in Jesus’ life that always draws some question is his baptism.  Why did Jesus get baptized?  John the Baptist always asks the question for the rest us:  “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Gregory of Nazianzen says “his purpose was to hallow water.”

Jerome provides three reasons:

1) “that he might fulfill all justice and humility of the law”;
2) “confirm John’s baptism”; and
3) “show the Holy Spirit’s advent in the baptism of believers.”

Hippolytus is thought to have written:

Do you see, beloved, how many and how great blessings we would have lost if
            the Lord had not yielded to the exhortation of John and declined baptism?  For
            the heavens had been shut before this.  The region above was inaccessible.  We
            might descend to the lower parts, but not ascend to the upper.  So it happened
            not only that the Lord was being baptized – he also was making new the old
            creation.  He was bringing the alienated under the scepter of adoption…A
            reconciliation took place between the visible and the invisible. The celestial
            orders were filled with joy, the diseases of earth healed, secret things made
            known, those at enmity restored to amity.”  -from The Discourse on the Holy Theophany 6.

Hugh Anderson, in his commentary on The Gospel of Mark (p. 75), writes, “The notion that Jesus, though himself without sin, undertook an act of vicarious repentance is the product of later theological reflection, and is foreign to the Gospel texts.”