John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. Whereas John’s baptism was symbolic, Jesus would ‘baptize you with the Holy Spirit’ (3:11). This prophecy is then dramatically affirmed when the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus as he is baptized (v.16), showing that he is the one John is speaking about and that Jesus is able to pour out this same Holy Spirit on you and me.
In many ways Jesus’ baptism was different from ours. He did not need to be baptized ‘for repentance’, and he was already filled with the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist was hesitant about baptizing him (v.14) but Jesus said, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness’ (v.15).
Jesus identified with us, sinful human beings, right from the start. He did this so that he could bear our sin on the cross for us. As a result, you are able to experience the Holy Spirit in a similar way and walk ‘in step with the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:25).