But Jesus answering said to him, "Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he permitted Him.Matthew 3:15(NASB)
Jesus travelled all the way from Galilee to be baptised of John in the Jordan. It was not a baptism of repentance for which John was commissioned of God (in order to prepare the nation of Israel for their coming Messiah), but in order to fulfil all righteousness.
The young carpenter of Nazareth was God incarnate Who, in His humility, had kept every aspect of God's holy Law. His baptism in the Jordan was an essential action to be carried out, in order to fulfil all God's righteous requirements.
Jesus was in the line of Judah and thus qualified to become Israel's king, but He was also destined to be God's holy, High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, and John the Baptist was called to commission Christ's coming priestly ministry, as well as to introduce Israel to their true Messiah: "Behold," He cried, "the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world."
The Lord Jesus was not only the eternal Son of God but also the sinless Son of Man, and His very act of baptism by this "voice, crying in the wilderness," commended, authenticated, and approved John's God-given office before this generation of vipers - a nation that was once again being called to repent of their sins and turn back to their God.
But perhaps Christ's identification with a race of sinners can be considered, by all Who have trusted Him as Saviour, to be the most poignant aspect of this fulfilment of all righteousness. The Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us so that He could be identified with your sin and mine and to take upon Himself all the punishment that you and I justly deserve. He identified with our gross unrighteousness so that we could be identified with His perfect righteousness.
He became our sin-sacrifice, our scapegoat, our crucified Saviour so that we could be forgiven of all our sins and raised up together with Him into newness of life.
It was at the Cross where all righteousness was finally and fully fulfilled for you and for me - through time and into eternity - but that day at the river Jordan, when John watched the sinless Son of God step into the baptismal waters of the Jordan, Jesus commanded, "'Permit it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.' Then he permitted Him."
Heavenly Father, thank You that the Lord Jesus fulfilled all righteousness on my behalf so that I have been set free from the bondage of sin, slavery to Satan, and the final enemy - death. Thank You that Jesus is my holy High Priest, Who is ever living to make intercession for me. Thank You that You identified with my sin so that I might be identified with Your righteousness. And thank You, Father, that all the waves and billows of God's wrath were poured out on Christ on my account so that all righteousness might be fulfilled on my behalf by the Lord Jesus, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.