The Baptism of Jesus


We do not know much about Jesus’ early life. The Bible tells us only of his birth, his teaching in the temple at age 12, and the general information that he “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).

The Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible informs us further that Jesus had brothers and that he grew stronger as he waited for his ministry to begin. While he waited, he served with his father, he did not speak as other men spoke, and he did not need to be taught as other men were taught (see JST, Matt. 3:24–26).

Jesus Christ was 30 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, because he felt that Jesus should baptize him. But Jesus explained that he needed to be baptized by John to fulfill all the commandments of Heavenly Father. So John went down into the water and baptized him (see Matt. 3:13–15; JST, Matt. 3:44; see also 2 Ne. 31:5–13).

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

“And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:16–17; see JST, Matt. 3:45–46).

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] Illustrated by Greg Olsen