At the beginning of chapter 3, Matthew introduces us to John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1-12). Then, he records the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17). There are several interesting things in the passage, but I want to focus on one: the baptism of Jesus and its connection to His sinlessness.
Jesus goes to John to be baptized, and John initially refuses. He essentially asks, “I need to be baptized by you. Why are you being baptized” (vs. 14)? This is a great question. Why did Jesus, the Son of God who knew no sin, get baptized? Osborne gives this answer: reasons: “By submitting to baptism Jesus begins his messianic work by identifying with the human need and providing the means by which it can be accomplished (Osborne, Matthew, Kindle Location 2465).
Jesus is baptized to identify with humanity (even though He has no sin of His own), to obey the will of the Father and perform all the works required by law, and to accept His role as Suffering Servant (as the rest of His ministry bears out). Because Jesus was baptized and obeyed the will of the Father, He could take our sin upon Himself and suffer for our sins. To put it negatively, had Jesus not been baptized He would have been unable to die for us as our sinless substitute. He would have failed to perfectly obey God’s will. But, He was baptized. He fulfilled all the righteous requirements of the law so He could die for our sins. Praise Jesus for His willingness to fulfill all righteousness so that He could bestow His righteousness on all who repent and believe!