Why would God need to be baptized?
Since baptism is for the remission of sins, why was Jesus baptized? For two reasons:
(1) It was to fulfill a sign promised to John the Baptist
33 And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.
34 And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
(2) As an example of doing the right thing
Matthew 3:15 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.
Is Jesus’ baptism evidence of a three-person deity?
Some believe Matt 3:16 is a reference to the existence of God as a three-part trinity relationship. Let us examine the scripture carefully.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
We previously pointed out from Col 1:15 and Heb 1:3, Jesus Christ was the “image” and “express image of his person” – which means the physical presence of the invisible God. From eternity past, God has always been a Spirit that totally fills the universe.
Isa 66:1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?
The “Spirit of God descending like a dove” is not a different Spirit from the voice that spoke, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” There is no scriptural evidence to support the idea that the invisible Spirit of God who fills the entire universe somehow ceased to fill the universe when He became man. He continued to be omnipresent throughout the universe while at the same time He confined His human form to one place at a time. His voice could be heard in heaven while His body was on earth.
Consider some relevant questions:
Can God hear prayers all over the earth at the same time? Yes He is omnipresent
Can we have a Holy Ghost power-packed service at our local church where everyone can say, “God was there!” and yet across town, across the state, or across the world, someone else may be praying while driving his car and feel the presence of God? Yes He is omnipresent
Or while one woman in Bloomington steps dangerously close to death in an accident at work and cries out, “Jesus!”, can God be there for her at the same time a little child is kneeling at an altar in Ethiopia receiving the Holy Ghost? Yes He can be at both places at the same time—He is omnipresent
Can God be present with his hair dripping wet in a muddy river and at the same time be heard as a voice from heaven? Yes, He is omnipresent. Matt 3:16 and 17 are not references to a three-part deity, but a God who is everywhere at all times. It is important to not force a passage of scripture to conform to our tradition but rather interpret it in light of other scripture.