Matthew 3:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 3:15, NIV: Jesus replied, 'Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.' Then John consented.

Matthew 3:15, ESV: But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.

Matthew 3:15, KJV: And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

Matthew 3:15, NASB: But Jesus, answering, said to him, 'Allow it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he *allowed Him.

Matthew 3:15, NLT: But Jesus said, 'It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.' So John agreed to baptize him.

Matthew 3:15, CSB: Jesus answered him, "Allow it for now, because this is the way for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then John allowed him to be baptized.

What does Matthew 3:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

John has been preaching a simple message: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. He has been baptizing those who repent from their sin in order to be ready for that kingdom to arrive (Matthew 3:1–2). Now the King of that kingdom has come to John and asked to be baptized, as well. John resisted, saying he was the one who should be baptized by Jesus (Matthew 3:13–14).

Jesus insists. His explanation is not immediately easy to understand. He tells John "it is fitting for [them] to fulfill all righteousness."

Scholars have offered many interpretations of Jesus' explanation. The most widely held view is that Jesus had no sin to repent from, but had come to earth to die on behalf of the sins of humanity. Baptism would identify Him with that sacrificial role and symbolize His coming death and resurrection. In this way, baptism would allow Jesus and John together to "fulfill all righteousness" by publicly foreshadowing the way all sin can be forgiven. This would also serve as an example for Christians to follow later (Acts 18:25; 19:3–6).

A simpler possibility is that it was just God's will for Jesus to be baptized by John. Jesus may be saying to John that they will be "fulfilling all righteousness" in the sense of doing what God wants—of doing the right thing. In other words, Jesus may have been saying to John, "We're going to do this because it's what God wants us to do."

In either case, John immediately agrees to baptize the Messiah.