Joseph Smith and the Baptism of Jesus Christ©
“...the most reverent of these explanations involve a twofold mistake. They represent the Baptism of John as one of repentance, and they imply an ulterior motive in the coming of Christ to the banks of Jordan. ... As applied to sinful men it was indeed necessarily a ‘baptism of repentance;’ but not as applied to the sinless Jesus. Had it primarily and always been a ‘baptism of repentance,’ He could not have submitted to it.” (2)
“Again, and most important of all, we must not seek for any ulterior motive in the coming of Jesus to this Baptism. He had no ulterior motive of any kind: it was an act of simple submissive obedience on the part of the Perfect One–and submissive obedience has no motive beyond itself.” (3)
5) And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfill all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy to be baptized, ye, even by water! 6) And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfill all righteousness in being baptized by water? 7) Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments. 8)Wherefore, after he was baptized with water the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove. 9) And again, it showeth unto the children of men the straitness of the path, and the narrowness of the gate, by which they should enter, he having set the example before them. 10) And he said unto the children of men: Follow thou me. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, can we follow Jesus save we shall be willing to keep the commandments of the Father? (My emphasis.)
13) Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I know that if ye shall follow the Son, with full purpose of heart, acting no hypocrisy and no deception before God, but with real intent, repenting of your sins, witnessing unto the Father that ye are willing to take upon you the name of Christ, by baptism, yea, by following your Lord and your Savior down into the water, according to his word, behold, then shall ye receive the Holy Ghost; yea, then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost....(6)
“I cannot think it either accident or mere whimsey that the Good Shepherd in his newly exalted state, appearing to a most significant segment of his flock, chooses first to speak of his obedience, his deference, his loyally, and loving submission to his father. In an initial and profound moment of spellbinding wonder, when surely he had the attention of every man, woman, and child as far as the eye could see, his submission to his Father is the first and most important thing he wishes us to know about himself.
Frankly, I am a bit haunted by the thought that this is the first and most important thing he may want to know about us when we meet him one day in similar fashion. Did we obey, even if it was painful? Did we submit, even if the cup was bitter indeed? Did we yield to a vision higher and holier than our own, even when we may have seen no vision in it at all?” [Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Will of the Father in all Things,” Brigham Young University 1988-89 Devotional and Fireside Speeches, (Provo: BYU Publications, 1989), pp. 76-77.]