Why did Jesus get baptized at the age of 30?
(Copyright @2009 by Yonko Mali, All rights reservered.)
(My answer may surprise some of you! The baptism of Jesus is recorded in Matthew 3:13, Mark 1:9 and Luke 3:21.)
Here is a composite reading from these 3 gospels:
The Baptism of Jesus:
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth, in Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, so why do you come to me?”
Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented and he baptized Jesus.
As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit of God descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven saying: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry.
Now, I wondered that why in these passages, where it is talking about the Baptism of Jesus - why did it mention the phrase that "Jesus was about thirty years old" when he got baptised and when he began his ministry. I wondered about that and the whole Baptism of Jesus.
So, at first, I reasoned simply that, as a prophet, Jesus should not have been too young or his wisdom would not have been easily accepted by the people. His ideas may have been shrugged off as the radical, impulsive preaching of an immature, young man.
On the overhand, I thought that he should not be too old, because of the rigors of His ministry. He had to walk all over Israel, put in long days, have a strong voice to preach to large crowds and have the energy and enthusiasm to spread his Good News and also strong enough for his upcoming crucifixion.
That was my thinking - until I discovered - in Numbers 4:34 and in Chronicles that a man had to be at least 30 years old to become a priest! Interesting!
And I also search the scriptures and found that the first King of Israel, Saul, was thirty years old when he was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be king of Israel. And David was thirty years old when he was anointed and became king.
And the prophesies state that Jesus was coming both as a King and as a Priest! Now things were starting to make more sense.
Let’s go back to the description of what happen just after Jesus was baptized. We see this image of Jesus, coming out of the water just after he is baptized and the Spirit of God descending on him like a Dove and the opening of the Heavens and God the Father speaking boldly from the clouds. What an awesome display and a magnificent sight.
But only recently did I realize that all of this was necessary - yes all of this was absolutely necessary!
Referring back to Chronicles and Numbers, you will find that, all the first born sons of Levites were candidates to become priests but not all first born sons automatically became priests. Their father had to vouch for them!
Yes the father would bring his first born son when he reached the age of thirty years old and I suspect he would say something like, “This is my son. He survived his impetuous youth, his impetuous teenage years and he has been a man for 10 years now (Biblically you were consider a man at twenty years of age, not thirteen as some think.) and the father would continue with something like “I can vouch for him, he is a good candidate and he is ready to assume the responsibilities of the priesthood”. Yes he would say, “I am well pleased with him”. Then the Son would be anointed into the priesthood.
Yes his father would say, “I am well pleased with him. Isn’t that amazing! Everything in the Bible fits together and makes sense.
So when Jesus was baptized at age thirty, it was the start of his ministry. This was a public event to be recognized and an event to be remembered.
And the reason why he was baptized at the age of thirty is because - that is the minimum age for a priest. And Jesus had to be anointed to start his priestly and his kingly ministry.
I hope I have given you new insight into these interesting verses of scripture about Jesus’ baptism.
Now how about you? Are you doing your priestly duties? What you say, I am not a priest? Read 1 Peter 2:9, as born again Christians, we are all part of the Royal Priesthood of Jesus Christ. Also read Hebrews and as well as Revelations 1:6, 5:10 and 20:6. All who believe are priests – men, women and even children! And we should act as priests as appropriate for our station in life and in the circumstances that we find ourselves in.
You see Jesus restore the priesthood back to the original it was meant to be, in the order of Melchizedek. The male head of a household was to be a priest for his family. You see, the Levitical priesthood had failed God. The fact is that Jesus revived the original priesthood or more accurately he started a new priesthood based on his new covenant with us.
This concept that Jesus started a new priesthood, was recognized by the early church and is proven by the fact that the great majority of Catholic Priests are not descendants from the tribe of Levi!
So men need to take on their responsibility of being a priest to their families. And if you are a single mom, you are by default the priest in your family. If you are a child at camp or anyplace where there is not someone appropriately acting as a priest, then you should act as one.
Now the main duties of a priest are prayer, that is intercession, and offering sacrifices. A father needs to pray each day for his wife and children. And a wife needs to pray for her husband and children. And remind your children that they need to pray for their parents as well as their brothers and sisters. And we all need to pray for our friends and neighbors.
I used to tease my children, whenever they were disappointed in how I was acting as a parent and I would say to them, “Well, have you been praying for me? Have you been praying for your Mom and Dad? You get what you pray for. So, no complaints!”
Offering Sacrifices – the other duty of a priest.
We constantly need to do sacrificial acts of love, first for our families, and then for our friends and then for our neighbors. We need to meet our responsibilities with love and we need to do those random acts of kindness.
I hope my message encourages you and may God bless you and your family. Have a great day today.
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Now you biblical scholars out there may mentioned, that there are really two events going on here: one is the baptism of Jesus and the other is the approval of Jesus by His Godly Father and anointing of the Holy Spirit to initiate and approve the start of his ministry. The baptism of Jesus by John is not necessarily the anointing by the Holy Spirit. And you are correct.
Jesus did not have to be baptized since he was without sin; he was already righteous but he had to be anointed into his priestly and kingly roles.
Jesus got baptized for many reasons, However, his baptism was to show that his ministry would establish a new covenant between God and man. So both events occurred together to mark the start of the official ministry of Jesus.
You see Jesus did many things on earth that he did not have to do, except that he did those things to be an example for us. One of the important aspects of baptism is that it is a public event, not a private one. The person being baptized is publically demonstrating that he is repenting of his sins and starting a new life.
Have you only been baptized as an infant? Many people have elected to be baptized or re-baptized as an adult. While baptism is not a necessity for salvation, it is an act both of obedience as well as a proclamation to the world of your beliefs. Consider doing it, getting baptized will be a blessing to you.
Consider this, if you have children, getting baptize can have a spiritual impact on them! You know we cannot force our children to believe in Jesus but we can show them by our example just like Jesus showed us by his example of getting baptized. Getting baptized may help your unbelieving children to believe or at least strengthen the faith of your children. Consider doing it.
Now there is a problem with Jesus coming as both a King and a Priest. The Levites generally were not allowed to be Kings and the Kings were not allowed to be Priests. However, this dilemma, or I should say this seems to be a dilemma, but it can lead us to a greater insight into God’s prophesies and the marvelous ways he works things out. We will cover this issue in a future broadcast.
Intriguing dilemma that ultimately results in a great fulfillment of prophesy in the person of Jesus Christ.
Here is another thought about age, the thirty years old. In our constitution and in our laws, we have a lot of age-related laws. Our founders showed great wisdom and said that a man could not become President of the United States until he is at least 35 years old and he could not become a Senator unless he was at least 25 years old.
In our wisdom, we have many age-related laws in regard to drinking, smoking, watching x-rated movies, voting and being drafted into military service, etc.
From the experience of our elders, there is great wisdom in these age-related laws and I think we need to do a better job of enforcing them.
For example, we do a poor job of enforcing the smoking ban on young teenagers and yet the latest scientific studies show that the younger you start smoking, the more likely you are to develop an aggressive, severe form of lung cancer!
Also in regard to watching X-rated movies, we hardly enforce this rule and yet again and again even secular psychological studies show that all of us, but especially younger people, are greatly influence in a bad way with violent and sexual movies and TV.
And the dangers of young people when they drink and drive is obvious to everyone.
So lets stop being a young-age centered culture and take on our responsibilities as parents and enforce our age-related laws.
I personally think that a person should not be able to vote --- note be able to drink - - - - and not be drafted into military service until they are 20 years old because this is the aged that you were consider a man in the Bible.
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Isaac Newton, that great mathemetician and physicist, was also a Christian biblical expert. In one on his many religious writings, he claim that the verses do not necessarily mean that Jesus was exactly 30 years old but only the Jesus was AT LEAST 30 years old. According to his research, Jesus was 32 years old when he was baptized.