Jesus wants John to baptize him - Catholic Courier
Illustration of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus John the Baptist baptizes Jesus. (Illustration by Linda Jeanne Rivers)

Jesus wants John to baptize him

In this issue:

Children’s story: Jesus wants John to baptize him
Essay Question
Bible Accent: Baptism
Saint for Today: St. Marianne Cope
Puzzle: Matching

John the Baptist was preaching in the desert of Judea.

He wore clothing made of camel’s hair and a belt. And all he ate was locust and wild honey.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” he cried to all who would listen.

John’s preaching fulfilled a prophesy about the coming of the Messiah that can be found in the Old Testament book of Isaiah: “A voice of one crying out in the desert, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.'”

People from Jerusalem and all over Judea traveled to the desert to visit John. The people would confess their sins, and John would baptize them in the Jordan River.

Sometimes, the Pharisees and Sadducees would come to the baptism. This angered John.

“You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?” John asked. “Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance. … Even now the ax lies at the root of the trees. Therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

John also said that he was not the only person who would be administering baptism to the people.

“I am baptizing you with water, for repentance, but the one who is coming after me is mightier than I,” he said. “I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fan is in his hand. He will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

One day, Jesus went into the desert to visit John and to be baptized by him.

John was surprised.

“I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” he exclaimed.

Jesus looked at John.

“Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” Jesus said.

John then agreed to baptize Jesus.

When Jesus came up from the water, the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and came upon him.

Then a voice from heaven could be heard.

“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” the voice said.


Matthew 3


1. Who was baptizing people in the Jordan River?

2. What did Jesus want John to do?

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Essay Question

Why is it important for Christians to be baptized?

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Bible Accent

Why did Jesus, who is sinless, want to be baptized?

In Matthew 3:13-15, we read that John the Baptist hesitated to baptize Jesus.

“I need to be baptized by you, and yet you are coming to me?” John said in surprise.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says in No. 536 that Jesus’ baptism shows that he has accepted and inaugurated 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,'” the catechism notes. “Already he is anticipating the ‘baptism’ of his bloody death. Already he is coming to ‘fulfill all righteousness,’ that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: Out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.”

Through baptism, the catechism says in No. 537, Christians are “sacramentally assimilated to Jesus” and “go down into the water with Jesus in order to rise with him, be reborn of water and the Spirit so as to become the Father’s beloved son in the Son and ‘walk in newness of life.'”

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Saint for Today: St. Marianne Cope

St. Marianne Cope was born in Germany in 1838. When she was 2, she and her family moved to the U.S.

She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in Syracuse, New York, and for 20 years, she was a teacher and hospital administrator. In 1883, she and six sisters moved to Hawaii to minister to those with leprosy, now known as Hansen’s disease. In 1888, the sisters opened a home on the island of Molokai for women and girls with leprosy. They continued St. Damien de Veuster’s work after his death.

St. Marianne died on Molokai in 1918. She was canonized in 2012, and we remember her on Jan. 23.

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Match the quotation about repentance with the Scripture passage from which it came. Write the chapter and verse on the blank after the quotation.

2 Pt 3:9

Prv 28:13

Rv 3:19

Acts 3:19

1. “Those who conceal their sins do not prosper, but those who confess and forsake them obtain mercy.” _______

2. “He is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” _______

3. “Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away.” _______

4. “Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent.” _______

Answers: 1. Prv 28:13; 2. 2 Pt 3:9; 3. Acts 3:19; 4. Rv 3:19

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