The Baptism of Jesus


We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost (A of F 1:1).

Except for what the scriptures tell us of Jesus Christ’s birth, his teaching in the temple at age twelve, and the general information that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52), we do not know much about his early life. The scriptures simply tell us that “Jesus grew up with his brethren, and waxed strong, and waited upon the Lord for the time of his ministry to come.

“And he served under his father, and he spake not as other men, neither could he be taught; for he needed not that any man should teach him.

“And after many years, the hour of his ministry drew nigh.” (JST, Matt. 3:24–26.)

Jesus Christ was thirty years old when he began his ministry. He traveled from Galilee to the Jordan River, where John the Baptist was preaching and baptizing. Jesus asked John to baptize him. At first John said no, that he needed to be baptized by Jesus. But Jesus explained that he needed to be baptized by John to fulfill all the commandments of Heavenly Father.

“And John went down into the water and baptized him.

“And Jesus when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and John saw, and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon Jesus.

“And lo, he heard a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye him.” (JST, Matt. 3:44–46.)

The baptism of Jesus is important not only because it teaches us that we, too, must each be baptized, but also because it is one place in the scriptures in which all three members of the Godhead are present at the same time: Jesus Christ was baptized; God the Father spoke; and the Holy Ghost, a spirit in the form of a person, descended like a dove upon Christ. All three members of the Godhead are separate individuals, each is a god, and they are all working together to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

[illustration] Jesus teaching in the temple at age twelve. (Painting by Heinrich Hofmann.)

[illustration] Painting by Greg K. Olsen