Baptism of Jesus | Matthew 3:13-17 | Epiphany 1A

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The Story of the Baptism of Jesus

It was a day like any other in the Jordan River valley, with the sun shining down on the rocky terrain and the cool waters flowing steadily by. But on this particular day, something extraordinary was about to happen.

A man named John the Baptist had been preaching in the wilderness, calling for people to repent and be baptized in the river as a symbol of their commitment to turning away from sin and following God. He had gained a following of disciples and had become known throughout the region as a powerful prophet.

One day, as John was baptizing a group of people, a figure appeared on the riverbank. It was Jesus, the son of Mary and Joseph, and John’s cousin.

Jesus walked towards John, and without hesitation, asked to be baptized. John was taken aback by this request, for he knew that Jesus was sinless and had no need for repentance or forgiveness.

“Why do you ask to be baptized by me? I should be baptized by you.” John said.

But Jesus replied, “Let us do it this way; it is proper for us to fulfill all righteousness.”

John knew that Jesus was right and agreed to baptize him. He led Jesus into the river and lowered him into the water. As he did so, something miraculous happened. The heavens opened up, and the Spirit of God descended like a dove and landed on Jesus. And a voice from the heavens said, “This is my Son, and I love him; with him, I am very pleased.”

John and the other witnesses were awestruck by what they had just seen and heard. They knew that Jesus was not just a man but the Son of God, sent to save humanity from their sins and to bring them into a new relationship with God.

From that day forward, Jesus began his public ministry, preaching and teaching about the kingdom of God and performing miracles that amazed and astounded the crowds. And John continued to baptize people in the Jordan River, telling them about the coming of the one who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Story Bible References

Focus Verse

Jesus was baptized and came up out of the water. Heaven opened, and he saw God’s Spirit coming down on him like a dove. And a voice spoke from heaven. The voice said, “This is my Son and I love him. I am very pleased with him.

Matthew 3:16-17 ICB


Thus, “to fulfill all righteousness” likely means acting in obedience to God in a way that coordinates internal dispositions and external action. Jesus’ first steps in public ministry are a combination of a compliant spirit and a powerful, public display of his obedience to God’s call.

That Jesus’ baptism is essential and a step of righteousness is confirmed by the divine voice.  God’s approval is unequivocal. Jesus is reaffirmed as God’s child as he begins his journey to the cross. Moreover, God’s love for Jesus is reaffirmed as well. Though Jesus’ life will be characterized by temptation and suffering, God’s love is no less real. God’s approval of Jesus is multifold. He and John together have acted in obedience to God at this moment, and now Jesus will certainly not divert from the straight path laid before him.

Eric Barreto on Working Preacher

Hands-On Craft Printables

Choose one or more of these hands-on activities as you share the story with your children.

Craft Supplies Needed for Baptism of Jesus Craft and Dove Craft:

  • Printed copies of craft
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons or Markers

For more activities, visit the shop for the Baptism of Jesus Activity Pack.

The shop also offers Children’s Worship Bulletins following a lesson from the lectionary each week.

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