Baptism of Jesus - Outline
by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.
- With this meditation, we begin the public
life of Jesus Christ.
- We call it the public life to distinguish the 30 years
of Christs hidden life at Nazareth.
- We also call it the public life because
it represents Christs reaching out to the world publicly.
- Our Purpose in the next three meditations
will be to prayerfully consider
- the Baptism of Jesus by John
- Christs temptation in the desert
- Christs first public manifestation
of Himself at His native city of Nazareth
Baptism Of Jesus
- The Baptism of our Lord introduces
His public ministry.
- John the Baptist figures very prominently in the Gospels. He is the last
of the prophets of the Old Testament and the first of the prophets in the New
- Significantly he is called
- The precursor of Christ
- The forerunner of Christ
- Significantly too John the Baptist was conceived
- The same angel Gabriel
- He was visited by Our Lady
- He was sanctified
- At his birth, his father Zachary pronounced the Benedictius that we say in our morning prayer of the Divine Office.
- In this prayer Zachary says of his son, And you child, shall be called
the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the face of the Lord to
prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness
of their sins
This was the role of John the Baptist, to open the eyes of
the people to their sins so that, repenting of their sins, they might recognize
Jesus as the Messiah who had come to redeem the world.
- Our scope of this meditation, we will reflect on
- John the Baptist announcing the coming of Christ.
- The Baptism of Christ as Christs voluntary humiliation
- Baptism of Christ as the announcement of His Divinity.
- As we go through each of three stages, we
shall reflect on the practical implications in our lives.
John the Baptist Announces Jesus
- John the Baptist had been reprimanding especially the Pharisees
and Sadducces who were coming to his Baptism. He said to them
Brood of vipers! Who has shown you how to flee from the wrath to come?
Bring forth therefore fruit befitting repentance,
And do not think to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father;
for I say to you that God is able out of these stones to raise up children to
For even now the axe is laid at the root of the tree; every tree therefore that
is not bringing forth good fruit is to be cut down and thrown into the fire.
- After castigating the Pharisees
- The Pharisees for their hypocracy
- The Sadducees for their disbelief in the Baptists announcing of the coming of Christ.
He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals
I am not worthy to bear. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean
out His threshing floor, and will gather His wheat into the barn; but the chaff
He will burn up with unquenchable fire.
- All of this was more than a prelude to Christs Baptism.
It was the necessary preparation of the people to
- Believe in Christ as the Redeemer
- Repent of sins in order to recognize Jesus as indeed
Christs Baptism and Humility
- As described by St. Matthew we are told:
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John, at the Jordan, to be baptized
by Him. And John was for hindering Him, and said, It is I who ought to be baptized
by thee, and dost thou come to me? But Jesus answered and said to him, Let
it be so now, for so it becomes us to fulfill all justice. Then he permitted
- The meaning of Christs Baptism by John takes meaning only from
two facts that
- Johns Baptism was the external confession of being a sinner.
- Jesus was not a sinner.
- John protested about Baptizing Jesus.
- He knew, already from childhood, who Jesus was.
- Johns mother told Mary that she, Elizabeth,
was not worthy to have the Mother of my Lord to come visit me.
- John had been sanctified, in his mothers
womb, when Mary, carrying Jesus in her womb, greeted Elizabeth.
- John had to have been enlightened by the
Holy Spirit all through his life on the fact that Jesus was not only the Messiah
but the Son of the Most High.
- John therefore strongly pleaded, not
to baptize Jesus. But Jesus insisted. Why?
- Because Jesus was beginning His public mission of redeeming a sinful world.
- Because Jesus wanted to be humiliated.
- Because Jesus wanted to symbolize His mission of Savior of sinners.
- In the Jordan by being associated with sinners.
- On Calvary by being crucified between two criminals.
- The lessons for us are beyond counting
- We are so naturally concerned about what other people think of us.
- We are so fearful of being thought less of by others.
- We are so fearful of being demeaned in the sight of others.
- We are so dreadfully afraid of being humiliated and will resort to all sorts of schemes to avoid humiliation.
- Yet, here is the all Holy God choosing to be humiliated
- To teach us the value of humility
- To redeem us, especially from our sins of pride.
Announcement of Christs Divinity
- The evangelist, St. Matthew, tells us, that something
remarkable happened at the Jordan:
And when Jesus had been baptized, He immediately
came up from the water. And behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He
saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and coming upon Him.
And behold, a voice from the heavens said, This is my beloved Son in whom I
am well pleased.
- This is the first public announcement of Christs Divinity
as the Second Person of the Trinity.
- What happened?
- The heavens were opened.
- The Holy Spirit descended as
a dove upon Jesus.
- A voice from heaven was heard.
- The Heavenly Father was well pleased with His Son Incarnate.
- The key to this revelation is
the fact that Jesus was identified as the living God.
- The implications for us are fundamental
to everything in our faith in Christ.
- It is Christs Divinity that
is the cardinal mystery that we are to believe.
- Everything else in our life depends
- Christs Divinity is the bases
for our obedience to Jesus commands
- Christs Divinity is the basis
for our love of Him, who is our God, who for love of us became man.
Copyright © 1998 by Inter Mirifica