Image: John the Baptist baptizing Christ (1723), painting by Italian painter Francesco Trevisani (1656-1746)
According to Gospels the Baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist marked the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. Jesus came to the Jordan River where John the Baptist had been preaching and baptizing people. After Jesus was baptized, Mark states, “Jesus saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove. Then a voice came from heaven saying, ‘You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’” (Mk. 1:10-11).
Matthew describes John as initially hesitant to comply with Jesus' request for John to baptize him, stating that it was Jesus who should baptize him. Jesus persisted, "It is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt. 3:15). In Matthew, God's public dedication informs the reader that Jesus has become God's anointed (‘Christ’).