Friday, February 29, 2008


(30 AD, Jordan, Israel )

I think it only fitting that the first baptism story recorded here be that of Christ.
It is recorded in each of the four gospels. (Because I want this to be helpful for children, I have quoted only the verses that are part of the story, and added some italicised clarifications and definitions in brackets.)

Matthew 3
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias [Isaiah], saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord...
5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
13 ¶ Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
14 But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
15 And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [permit] it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway [immediately] 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.

Since Jesus came up OUT of the water, we know he was baptized IN the water, or by immersion.
John knew who Jesus was, and felt unworthy to baptise him. He knew that Jesus was perfect and did not need to be washed clean, but Jesus was baptized anyway "to fulfil all righeousness." This example shows us how important baptism is--Jesus did it because it was a commandment, even though he was without sins.

Mark 1
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 And [John] preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall not only baptize you with water, but with fire, and the Holy Ghost [*JST].
9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Again, we see that Christ was baptized by immersion.
God the Father was so pleased with Christ's obedience that He spoke from heaven. We are also His children, and He feels the same way when we are baptized.

Luke 3
2 ...the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?
11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.
12 Then came also publicans [tax collectors] to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?
13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. [extra money was given to the poor]
14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely [extortion]; and be content with your wages.
15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not;
16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:
21 Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened,
22 And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.
23 And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli...
31 ...which was the son of David,
32 Which was the son of Jesse...

Luke tells us how old Jesus was, and also explains that Jesus was the legitimate heir to the Judean throne at the time.
John the Baptist tells us a little about the baptismal covenant--that we should be honest, give to the poor, and be peacemakers.
Luke also clarifies that, after being baptized, Jesus prayed, and then the Holy Ghost descended upon Him. This is like how the confirmation blessing is separate from the actual baptism.

John 1
29 ¶ The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
30 This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me.
31 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.
32 And John bare record[testified], saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him.
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.

John the apostle, also called "John the Beloved" was there at the baptism too, and gives his testimony that Jesus is the Son of God. He also makes it clear that John the Baptist also knew who Jesus was and what His mission was.

*JST is Joseph Smith Translation. Over the centuries the Bible has been through many translations, and some parts have been lost or confused in that process. Through revelation, Joseph Smith made many small additions and clarifications to the Bible.

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