Why does the call for ‘Baptism’, which is symbolic of the Great Flood, precede or accompany the ‘Herald’ of the coming Kingdom of God (Matt 3:1-6, Matt 28:19-20) so that the Messiah Himself receives ‘baptism’ before embarking on His mission and demonstrates that all righteousness would not be fulfilled if one disobeyed it (Matt 3:15)?
The reason the call for Baptism precedes or accompanies the Herald of the coming Kingdom of God is that only then one may hope to pick up broken threads and start anew.
Picking up broken threads or true understanding of the Eternal Gospel is not possible unless one retraces one’s steps to the Crossroads, the only place where one may find the ancient paths and seek the Good Way (Jer 6:16, Prov 8:2).
Let us be very clear that ‘baptism’ is no more meant to purify or cleanse a person (1 Pet 3:21) than the Great Flood was meant to purify or cleanse the earth and its inhabitants. Rather, as God’s Word continues to testify concerning ‘man’ post flood, for example refer Gen 8:21, “……….. EVERY INCLINATION OF HIS HEART IS EVIL FROM CHILDHOOD…”, it will testify for ‘men’ who boast and bank on ‘baptism’ rather than on seeking the Good Way and abiding by it.
Until the Flood, which serves as the Spiritual Crossroads for all mankind, men who knew God knew and worshiped the One and the Same God (eg. Gen 4:26, Isa 43:11-13). They lived in and about a certain part of the earth and spoke one language (Gen 11:1). But then the first of religions took birth (Gen 11:4), for religion is nothing but REBELLION TOWARDS GOD. Consequently God gave them over to their deluded minds and scattered them throughout the face of the whole earth just like He had separated Cain. For in this itself is the Judgment of God (Lk 11:17). Thus came about the linguistic diversities, the territorial diversities, the racial diversities….. even religious diversities etc. that is so strongly evident among mankind till date (Gen 11:8-9). Hence it is called the Crossroads in every respect.
The Seed of the Gospel for the Salvation of mankind and Regeneration of all God’s creation had fully and irrevocably taken root in this world by the time of the symbolic judgment through the Great Flood. The prophets and servants of God who came after that attempted to reiterate the same. But they were neither received nor their words acknowledged. Instead, they were put to death one after another and their words and prophecies supplanted with lies and misinterpretations (Matt 13, Jer 8:8-9). Moreover, the Oneness of God advocated and reinstated in Noah’s time (Gen 6:18) also came to be shattered completely. The election of Abraham and Sarah (Isa 51:2), which followed not long after, failed to revive the same, and the calling of the nation Israel to be the light of God among nations was brought to naught as it soon gave way to yet another rebellion, yet another religion!
However, praise be to God, for the Truth which seemed to have been lost in the melee came to be REITERATED AND REINSTATED ONCE AND FOR ALL WHEN THE SON OF GOD HIMSELF APPEARED IN FLESH AND SHED LIGHT ON THE DARKNESS BELOW, CONQUERING DEATH, HELL AND HADES, TO LIVE AGAIN AND SUBSTANTIATE IT FOREVER! Read Jn 1:1-5.
Thus, by Himself personifying the Word of God and exemplifying the same through His baptism, Jesus Christ once again brings the Word of God to us to exhort us yet again: “…. ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the Good Way is; and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls…’” (Jer 6:16, Matt 5:20). Also read Prov 8:2, “On the ancient heights along the way, where THE PATHS MEET (i.e. at the Crossroads), She (meaning Wisdom) takes her stand..”
THIS IS THE REASON JESUS BEGINS HIS MINISTRY BY SETTING ALL RECORDS OR LAWS STRAIGHT (REFER MATT 5-7) AND REMINDS THE SO-CALLED TEACHERS OF THE LAW TO LOOK FOR WHAT WAS REVEALED FROM THE BEGINNING (EG. MATT 19:8). To be sure, just as He testifies, He came TO FULFILL all the laws and righteousness of God so that we may learn from Him (Matt 5:17, Jn 6:45) and not from any man, any church or any religion.
Finally, let it also be understood that it is the reason why God when He renewed His Covenant with Noah established that AS LONG AS THE EARTH ENDURES, He will not destroy ALL LIVING CREATURES as He had done then by the waters (even though rains and floods were to become commonplace). Refer Gen 8:21-22 & Gen 9:8-17. Indeed, the ‘rainbow’ is made a sign between God and all life on the earth to remind all its inhabitants that God does remember and keep His Word.
As such, Jesus corrects us when we misjudge events or calamities (Lk 13:2-5). For example, refer Gen 19:24-25, Num 11:1, Num 16:31-35, Matt 11:21-24, Lk 11:31-32, Matt 10:14 etc. and understand that in keeping with His Word these calamities or disasters do not destroy all life on earth but continue to leave behind a vast remnant that they may take heed and be warned to repent and bear fruits worthy of their repentance and be saved for ever (Matt 3:8 & 10).