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136

Part One

III.

T

he

M

ysteries of

J

esus

’ P

ublic

L

ife

The baptism of Jesus

535

Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the

Jordan.

228

John preaches “a baptism of repentance for the forgive-

ness of sins.”

229

A crowd of sinners

230

—tax collectors and soldiers,

Pharisees and Sadducees, and prostitutes—come to be baptized by

him. “Then Jesus appears.” The Baptist hesitates, but Jesus insists

and receives baptism. Then the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove,

comes upon Jesus and a voice from heaven proclaims, “This is my

beloved Son.”

231

This is the manifestation (“Epiphany”) of Jesus as

Messiah of Israel and Son of God.

536

The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and

inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. He allows

himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of

God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

232

Already he is

anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death.

233

Already he is

coming to “fulfill all righteousness,” that is, he is submitting him-

self entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this

baptism of death for the remission of our sins.

234

The Father’s voice

responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in

his Son.

235

The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his

conception comes to “rest on him.”

236

Jesus will be the source of

the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism “the heavens were

opened”

237

—the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed—and the

waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a

prelude to the new creation.

537

Through Baptism the Christian is sacramentally assimi-

lated to Jesus, who in his own baptism anticipates his death and

resurrection. The Christian must enter into this mystery of humble

self–abasement and repentance, go down into the water with Jesus

in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to

228 Cf.

Lk

3:23;

Acts

1:22.

229

Lk

3:3.

230 Cf.

Lk

3:10-14;

Mt

3:7; 21:32.

231

Mt

3:13-17.

232

Jn

1:29; cf.

Isa

53:12.

233 Cf.

Mk

10:38;

Lk

12:50.

234

Mt

3:15; cf. 26:39.

235 Cf.

Lk

3:22;

Isa

42:1.

236

Jn

1:32-33; cf.

Isa

11:2.

237

Mt

3:16.

719-720

701

438

606

1224

444

727

739

1262