There is no record (in Scripture) of John the Baptist being baptized so as far as we know, he was NOT baptized. This leads us to another question, “Why would John need to be baptized?” Let’s read Matthew 3:13-14, “Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and You are coming to me?’” (NKJV) Before we comment on these verses let’s also read verses 1-2 and 5-6: “In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, ‘REPENT, for the kingdom of God is at hand’…then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, CONFESSING THEIR SINS.” John’s baptism was a BAPTISM UNTO REPENTANCE. In this baptism sinners repented and confessed their sins. So, when Jesus came to John to be baptized John naturally tried to prevent Him from being baptized for JESUS HAD NO SINS TO CONFESS! Yet John could say, “I need to be baptized by You,” for he surely knew that he was a sinner and thus met the requirements for this “baptism unto repentance.”

This, in turn, leads to another question, “Why was Jesus baptized since He was sinless and had no sins to confess?” The answer is both humbling and deserving of our praise. In verse 15 Jesus went on to say, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” What did Jesus mean by the words “to fulfill all righteousness?” I believe Jesus was referring to the fact that He had come into this world to (as another has said), “fulfill all the righteous claims of God against man’s sin.” When Jesus went down into the waters of the Jordan River it SYMBOLIZED Him being immersed in the waters of God’s holy judgment on the cross of Calvary for sinners. So, in His baptism He was pledging to take the place of guilty sinners on the cross and to bear the judgment due to their sins. He had no sins of His own to confess, but in His baptism He was identifying with sinners and confessing their sins as if they were His own. Is this not humbling, for we deserved the wrath of God yet Jesus took our place? And is this not deserving of our praise, for His suffering and death at Calvary has indeed satisfied all of God holy and righteous claims against sin and thus the believer is perfectly forgiven and righteous in God’s sight.

In summary, it would appear that even though John could have been baptized (for he was a sinner like all members of the human race), he was not. But did he really have to be baptized? I don’t believe so, for baptism was simply (as we have seen) the acknowledgement that we are a sinner and deserving of death and God’s judgment against sin. We have already seen that John was willing to admit, “I need to be baptized by You.” In those words he surely was admitting that he was a sinner that qualified him for baptism. In short, he had already REPENTED before God.

I would also mention the fact that John’s baptism had another purpose. Matthew 3: 3 says this of John, “For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: ‘This is the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight.’” John was a very special servant of God, for he was the FORERUNNER of the Lord who was sent to prepare the children of Israel to receive Jesus Christ as their Messiah. His heart was ALREADY PREPARED to receive Christ but by calling on Israel to submit to his “baptism unto repentance” he was seeking to PREPARE THEIR HEARTS. Since his heart was already prepared, he did NOT need to be baptized. (322.5) (DO)