Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
One purpose of His baptism our Lord Himself mentions, in order to satisfy the scruples of the reluctant Baptist; "Suffer now, .for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." The first and obvious sense of this is, that since the baptism of John was of God, it became Him, as being born in the people to whom God had given it, to submit Himself to it as the ordinance of God. But then, other grounds might be included in this, as involved in the character and person of Him who thus submitted Himself. The words may have been left, on purpose, undefined, in order to comprehend the more. "He added not the righteousness of the law, or of nature, that we might understand both." The righteousness fulfilled was in Him humility surpassing all thought, in that while God He received the baptism of the sinners whose nature He had taken; in Him it was love, which is the fulfilling of the law, in that He received that which He needed not, that they who need it might the more gladly receive it; and so it may be also that He was baptized, not only to give an example of obedience, or healthfully to shame those who to their destruction would have disdained it, but in it to fulfil all righteousness by cleansing the sinful nature in the likeness whereof He had come, and to impart to it as a whole the righteousness which He should afterwards communicate, one by one, to those who came to the baptism which He had thus consecrated. And again, all righteousness may thereby have been fulfilled in it, in that an everlasting righteousness was thereby brought in, and the element consecrated whereby the justifying efficacy of His meritorious Cross and Passion were to be conveyed to all believers. The one sense will not exclude the other; as of all our blessed Saviour's actions and words, it is to be believed that they have a manifold depth and meaning, of which each application brings out but one portion; these gifts are a "precious stone," "whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth."