The paper that I was supposed to write a month ago was a 3 page meditation on a New Testament passage. I chose Matthew 3:13-17, Matthew's version of the story of Jesus' baptism. One of the puzzling aspects of that event is Jesus' statement to John the Baptist, "It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." I've often wondered exactly what he meant. John's baptism was a baptism of repentance and Jesus has no need to repent. That's part of John's point that Jesus should baptize him. There is no command in the law to be baptized, so what does it mean that Jesus will fulfill all righteousness by being baptized? Leon Morris, an Australian New Testament scholar, in his commentary on Matthew, relates it to Jesus role as the suffering servant from Isaiah who will identify with God's people and by his suffering will make many righteous. Morris says this:
“Jesus might well have been up there in front with John and calling on sinners to repent. Instead he was down there with the sinners, affirming his solidarity with them, making himself one with them in the process of the salvation that he would in due course accomplish.”
Jesus became one of us and leads us through repentance and into the new life of the Spirit, just as one day he will lead us through death into the eternal life of the resurrection in the New Heavens and the New Earth.