The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page
The Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association Home Page

Father John A. Hardon, S.J. Archives


Sacred Scripture

Return to:  Home > Archives Index > Sacred Scripture Index

Baptism of Jesus - Outline

by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.


  1. With this meditation, we begin the public life of Jesus Christ.

  2. We call it the public life to distinguish the 30 years of Christ’s hidden life at Nazareth.

  3. We also call it the public life because it represents Christ’s reaching out to the world publicly.

  4. Our Purpose in the next three meditations will be to prayerfully consider

    1. the Baptism of Jesus by John

    2. Christ’s temptation in the desert

    3. Christ’s first public manifestation of Himself at His native city of Nazareth


Baptism Of Jesus


  1. The Baptism of our Lord introduces His public ministry.

  2. 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 Testament.

  3. Significantly he is called

    • The precursor of Christ

    • The forerunner of Christ

  4. Significantly too John the Baptist was conceived before Jesus

    • 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.

  5. 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…” (Luke 1:76—77).

    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.

  6. Our scope of this meditation, we will reflect on

    1. John the Baptist announcing the coming of Christ.

    2. The Baptism of Christ as Christ’s voluntary humiliation

    3. Baptism of Christ as the announcement of His Divinity.

  7. As we go through each of three stages, we shall reflect on the practical implications in our lives.

John the Baptist Announces Jesus

  1. 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 Abraham.

    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.”

  2. After castigating the Pharisees and Sadducees

    • The Pharisees for their hypocracy

    • The Sadducees for their disbelief in the Baptist’s 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.”

  3. All of this was more than a prelude to Christ’s 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 the Messiah.

Christ’s Baptism and Humility

  1. 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 him.

  2. The meaning of Christ’s Baptism by John takes meaning only from two facts that

    • John’s Baptism was the external confession of being a sinner.

    • Jesus was not a sinner.

  3. John protested about Baptizing Jesus.

    • He knew, already from childhood, who Jesus was.

    • John’s 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 mother’s 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.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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 Christ’s Divinity

  1. 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.”

  2. This is the first public announcement of Christ’s Divinity as the Second Person of the Trinity.

  3. What happened?

    1. The heavens were opened.

    2. The Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon Jesus.

    3. A voice from heaven was heard.

    4. The Heavenly Father was well pleased with His Son Incarnate.

    5. The key to this revelation is the fact that Jesus was identified as the living God.

    6. The implications for us are fundamental to everything in our faith in Christ.


  1. It is Christ’s Divinity that is the cardinal mystery that we are to believe.

  2. Everything else in our life depends on this.

  3. Christ’s Divinity is the bases for our obedience to Jesus’ commands

  4. Christ’s 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

search tips advanced search

What's New    Site Index

Home | Directory | Eucharist | Divine Training | Testimonials | Visit Chapel | Hardon Archives

Adorers Society | PEA Manual | Essentials of Faith | Dictionary | Thesaurus | Catalog | Newsletters

Real Presence Eucharistic Education and Adoration Association
718 Liberty Lane
Lombard, IL 60148
Phone: 815-254-4420
Contact Us

Copyright © 2000 by
All rights reserved worldwide.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior
written permission of