Baptism of Jesus


Why was Jesus Baptized, and where did John the Baptist get the authority?


He was baptized as an example for us.


But Jesus wasn’t the first or the only one Baptized by John


From the CCC

Christ’s Baptism

1223 All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St. John the Baptist in the Jordan.17 After his resurrection Christ gives this mission to his apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you."18

1224 Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John, intended for sinners, in order to "fulfill all righteousness."19 Jesus’ gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying.20 The Spirit who had hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his "beloved Son."21

1225 In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in Jerusalem, as a “Baptism” with which he had to be baptized.22 The blood and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life.23 From then on, it is possible "to be born of water and the Spirit"24 in order to enter the Kingdom of God.


Please remember the baptism by John the Baptist did not forgive sins.


In Roman Catholicism, the baptism of Jesus is one of the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.


Jesus’ baptism was the Jewish ritual purification immersion known as a Tvilah. The tvilah had to be performed in running (living) water and special pools were constructed in areas without access to streams or lakes. The pool of water used is known as the mikveh.
Modern Mikveh in a Synagogue

Ancient Mikveh

The word baptisma in Greek literally means wash. Jewish women purified themselves in the mikveh after childbirth and men purified themselves before offering sacrifice, before going off to war, starting a business venture, marriage or any other important event. Gentiles converting to Judaism must immerse themselves in the mikveh.

Ritual Washing in Judaism:
B**aptism in Early Christianity: **

The ritual purification bath would have been extremely well known among the Jews of Jesus time and is practiced even today. The Jews who read the Gospel or heard the story of Jesus baptism would have immediately recognized it as a purification for the start of his ministry and eventual offering of himself as sacrifice.

John’s authority to baptize was from God.

And he will turn many of the sons of Israel to the Lord their God,
and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli’jah,
to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,
and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,
to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."

(Luke 1:16-17)

John was given the spirit of Elijah and was born to prepare the Jewish people, to make them ready for the Lord.



John’s Baptism by itself was not a Sacrament. However, in my opinion:

the Father sent the Spirit upon Jesus at the time of His Baptism by John, so that Jesus received the indelible character of Baptism on His human soul at that time. It was not necessary for Jesus to be baptized, but it was fitting, so that He would be an example for us. So Jesus did receive the real Sacrament of Baptism, though only because the Father intervened to make this one Baptism by John the real Sacrament.

Of course, Jesus as one person of the Trinity is always one with the Father and the Spirit. But the symbol of the descending dove indicated the reception of the Sacrament by His human nature. His human nature was always in a state of grace from His Incarnation/conception. But it was still fitting for him to receive Baptism, so that he would have the same indelible character as His baptized followers.


=jimboky;13024908]Why was Jesus Baptized, and where did John the Baptist get the authority?

To set the example for us AND to let US know how important it is TO US:thumbsup::thumbsup:

From God!


Pope Benedict says Jesus was baptized by John in order to sanctify baptism, so that we could be sanctified by the Trinitarian Baptism. After Jesus was Baptized, Jesus and the Apostles baptized others. John 3:22


That’s not true in general of the Greek word for baptise.
The word for baptize in Greek generally means to plunge or submerge.
It is used of armies who jump into lakes up to their waists while marching, or of ships sinking, or of pikels being submerged in a jar of water. None of these things have to do with washing.

The Pharisees, had confounded the idea of being plunged/overwhelmed by the presence of God in the Exodus experience with the idea of washing. And it is only in one place in scripture, where baptism is compared to washing in English (it’s a hapax legomenon) – and done only in order to condemn the pharisees by showing they aren’t completing the plunging: “You baptize the outside of the cup, and dish, but the inside is full of filfh” ( Matthew 23:25 ) – whereas, if one had really “baptized” or plunged a dish, (like a sunken ship), it would be impossible for any part of it to have not been rinsed in the traditional meaning of baptize.

The idea of washing, really isn’t what the Greek word is about, but of complete submersion and being overwhelmed.

I think, in one work I read – possbily, Plato, he said something like “we can be baptized with wine”; referring to it’s effects and the tendency to dumped it on one’s self, once inebreated – because coordination gets lost. Eg: clearly, it has nothing to do with becoming ‘clean’ in that instance, but quite the opposite…

The Mikveh bath, on the other hand – is quite Jewish, and I would agree that it’s exactly as you say. :slight_smile:


However, the classical Greek use of the word is not necessarily a good explanation of the Biblical sense. The use of the English sense of washing is used throughout the NT when referring to Baptism. Even in the Old, when Moses commands the Israelites to be washed after the episode of the golden calf, it is the Original Hebrew Baptism.

In ancient (and even modern) Judaism, the Baptism of Jews is hereditary. There is no need for Jews, born of Jews. However, when Gentiles convert, they must be baptized (washed.) whether male or female. Of course the male must also be circumcised to enter into the Covenant.

So the use of baptism is often described as washing throughout the Bible. My point being that washing is OK as an English equivalent of Baptism in the Bible.


Semantics aside, Jesus’ baptism was a tvilah - ritual washing of the Hellenistic Jews.

It was something every Jew would have immediately recognized as a purification and preparation for ministry and sacrifice.



I’m not sure that’s entirely true. Though it’s not a mistake that should cost anyone their faith.

Take a look at 1st Peter 3:21, where Peter is careful to point out that baptism is not like washing to purify the flesh, as in a ritual washing.

Yet, original sin is something of flesh origin, eg: according to propagation in the flesh.

So – Consider a more nuanced view:

The classical Greek idea of being overwhelmed, or immersion, is very much found in early references to Baptism of the Early church Fathers. The idea of the water needing to be ‘live’ flowing, or dumped upon one’s self is exactly what Plato was depending on the hearer understanding when he made his comment about wine.

When an author writes in Greek to Jew’s, they are going to get interpretations of those words along the lines of jewish traditions; when written to Gentiles, then there will be a more classical Greek understanding. If Luke, who wrote to Greeks and Gentiles, intended the classical Greek understanding of the word to not be used – then there should be explanations of the Jewish meaning; for many other words that are peculiar in Jewish meaning are explained in Luke’s writing. But not baptism, rather – Peter explains that it is not washing, and that itself is evidence of the Greek interpretation.
He also relates it to the ARK, which was not itself washed – but only plunged into the waters violently. And the ark, notably, was filled with clean and unclean animals alike.

So, again:
Baptism does not imply washing in Greek. A person who is baptized could wash while baptized, but washing and scrubbing simply is not required. That’s an extension of the meaning.

We Christians do not wash, when being baptized ; no one seriously tells adults being baptized to “scrub” – and original sin, which is propagated according to the flesh – is not removed by washing; re-read Peter again; rather we are regenerated as Christians in the conscience.

On the other hand; The “laborous” form of baptism, is called confession. I believe that’s referenced at least in Vatican II, and possibly other earlier councils. Confession requires actual scrubbing, so to speak ; but the original baptism DOES NOT.

Baptism is a bath, but it is only LIKE washing, in that a person is ‘clean’ afterward (but only once). But that’s a likeness, not the core identity of baptism’s primary effect; for a man can be ‘clean’ but empty, and devils will inhabit them— ( Luke 11:26 [The unclean spirit], when he comes, finds the man swept and garnished, then he goes and brings seven other spirits more wicked tan himself, and they enter into the man, and live there – and the last state of that man is worse than the first.)

A natural child is not placed into the womb of it’s mother to be washed, rather they are placed there to be surrounded and supported by water and grow within their mother until birth and during their whole early life they depend on their mother’s sanctity.

The natural condition of a child reflects the core identity of what baptism is in the Greek sense of the word, to be overwhelmed, flooded, taken over by, or immersed in something at least partially; and more often suddenly, and totally.

An infant is baptized in their mother’s womb, into the family of their mother; and likewise in the sacrament of baptism, it is the immersion of a child of God in the waters of the Holy Spirit who gives new life, and that is what makes them part of the family of God. It’s not the washing, which is a side effect.

Now, take another example which is directly tied to Christian Baptism in Tradition/ECF:
Go back to Creation in Genesis 1:2, and notice: The Holy Spirit was not carrying the waters above the abyss in order to “wash” the earth; rather it was to bring life into something lifeless by the breath of God. And there is a second reference to the waters, in Genesis 1:7 – and these waters are not explicitly called “good” but are cut or divided. In Christian tradition, what I would like you to focus on is that the second mention of water is not ex-nihilo.

I’m not sure how to say this well, so take it as an incomplete thought:

Perfection of cleanliness in the body is an un-necessary side effect of baptism.
For one can be in venial sin, and still be alive in the Spirit; so it is not strictly necessary that baptism remove all venial sin, it is rather a gift that it does so which we can only know by Tradition. For It is a mercy of God that baptism removes a ‘sin’ which is only sin by analogy according to the CCC ; but at the same time baptism does not remove concupiscence which is a continual source of fifth to come – and not an analogy.

I’ll repeat the objection, baptism is not like washing – because one can not ‘re-plunge’ into the Holy Spirit; even though one CAN re-plunge into a mikveh bath. The repetitious action is exactly where analogy between washing, scrubbing (which is a back and forth motion) and baptism breaks down. That which re-uses the water is not as good as that which first took effect.

So – :

In the Golden calf incident, the Israelites had already been baptized into Moses in the sea, and in the Cloud; Therefore, I would hazard to say that the washing mentioned in those pages by Moses is not really baptism; but secondary ritual washing on account of sin.


[quote=Huiou Theou]In the Golden calf incident, the Israelites had already been baptized into Moses in the sea, and in the Cloud; Therefore, I would hazard to say that the washing mentioned in those pages by Moses is not really baptism; but secondary ritual washing on account of sin.

Exactly my point! :wink: Secondary (your word not the Bible’s) ritual washing on account of sin. IOW, BAPTISM. That is the Baptism the Hebrews considered cleansing of sin. That is the reason for their continued use of Baptism/washing with new converts. It is to wash away the sin of idolatry of which Gentiles are presumed to be guilty. It is the foundation of Christian Trinitarian Baptism. And like the OT typology, when a convert comes into Judaism, the entire family must be washed/baptized, including infants. (Reform Jews notwithstanding) :wink:

My point, as I said earlier, is that in English Bibles washing is used many times in the Bible, and most always refers to Baptism. (except where it explicitly says the contrary -as you have shown) In fact it was one of the euphemisms for Baptism as was; made Holy, Sanctified, Illuminated, etc. the way Christening is for us.

My further point is that washing and baptism are synonymous. It is not helpful, in my view, to try and separate the two as totally unrelated based on Classical Greek usage. Why? Because then much of what the Bible ACTUALLY SAYS ABOUT BAPTISM is lost. :frowning:


And Johns authority would also be recognized from his father (a priest) and come from God.


I hadn’t thought that about John’s father, that he was a priest. Thanks Deacon!

Will you pray for me at Mass?



I will keep you as my intention at Masses the rest of the week.


I ask you this–What good is the High Priest if He is not baptized but everyone else is. It is to fulfill righteousness, that is why He is baptized. He enters the Kingdom and Ascends through the same door we do–that’s what makes Him The Lord Our Righteousness. He becomes like us so that we may become like Him.

John the Baptist received the authority from the Holy Spirit. He is the one crying out in the wilderness. It was John’s coming that prompted Jesus’ coming. In being baptized by John He declares John as the one who declares Him. Remember, Jesus said if anyone accepts a prophet in the name of a prophet, that person will receive a prophet’s reward. Jesus was declaring John as a prophet by saying that John declares Jesus’ coming; all as according to scripture, in so that scripture is fulfilled. John’s reward is that he is the last Old Testament prophet, since it is Jesus that prophecy speaks of and it is John who declares Him; therefore John has the authority to declare Jesus because John is a prophet according to scripture. There is none greater than John (of those born of women) like Jesus says; unless someone becomes like a child and understands.


I don’t see how it is baptism.
In fact, I don’t even see them washing literally – for it was you who called it baptism ; and I am merely entertaining a doubt on your behalf, saying that the washing has to be of a different sort:

eg: In the incident with the golden calf, Moses ground up the gold dust, mixed it with a stream of water, and forced everyone to drink it.

That action corresponds to the test of the woman suspected of adultery, who is forced to drink water mixed with dust; so that if she is guilty, her womb (the source of water for children) swells and she dies; the word baptism is never used of the passage that I am aware of and so I don’t see how you relate the two as being at all alike.

Compare Exodus 32:20 vs. Numbers 5:19-21.

That is the Baptism the Hebrews considered cleansing of sin.

The ritual in numbers, regarding Moses, is a test and a curse; not a cleansing of individuals from sin – rather, it is more likely (in my eyes) a purging of evil individuals from their midst by cursing those who lied about their participlation in the rights of the Calf, and at the same time proving that the Calf is no god at all – for they ate it.

That is the reason for their continued use of Baptism/washing with new converts. It is to wash away the sin of idolatry of which Gentiles are presumed to be guilty. It is the foundation of Christian Trinitarian Baptism. And like the OT typology, when a convert comes into Judaism, the entire family must be washed/baptized, including infants. (Reform Jews notwithstanding) :wink:

Where in Jewish teaching, do they ever say – in the Talmud or elsewhere – that baptism washes away sins?

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