Baptism of Jesus: Bible Story and Importance

by David Peach · Print Print · Email Email

The story of the baptism of Jesus can be found in three of the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke . The book of John talks about the baptism in chapter 1, but does not give any details to the actual event. Each telling of the story involves only a few verses, yet so much is taught in these few words. You can read the stories in Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11 and Luke 3:21-22.


Jesus came up from Nazareth in Galilee to the Jordan river to see John the Baptist. Remember that John was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. John had been preaching the Gospel of repentance. People had confessed their sins with an understanding that God would send a Redeemer to forgive them. Then the Bible says that John baptized those who believed in the coming Messiah (Matthew 3:1-6).

Jesus came to John for baptism. John did not want to baptize the Lord. John felt unworthy. He already knew that Jesus was the One the world had been looking forward to since the first promise of a Redeemer back in Genesis 3:15. Yet Jesus asked John to baptize Him and John obeyed.

Holy Spirit

Following the act of baptism, the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. The Luke passage says that the Holy Spirit came down in a bodily form. Because of those words and because each of the three passages say that the Spirit descended “like a dove,” we know that the people around the baptism of Christ saw something special that day.

I think it is important to read the wording carefully here. These verses do not say that the Holy Spirit took on the body of a dove. While He may have done so, these verses do not say this. They say that the manner in which the Holy Spirit descended was like a dove. Don’t fall into the trap of worshiping the creature more than the Creator (Romans 1:22-25). These words are written to give us an understanding of the way the Holy Spirit came down, not necessarily what the bodily form He took was. That said, He may very well have taken on the shape of a dove, but the text does not say this, and certainly does not encourage us to worship doves.


“Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

“Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

Following the baptism of Jesus and the descension of the Holy Spirit, a voice from heaven was heard. This was the voice of God the Father.

God said, “This is (Thou art) my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11) God spoke directly to the people and to Jesus to give a pronouncement of who Christ was. Jesus was the Son of God and God approved of His life, ministry and coming sacrifice.

What We Can Learn

Jesus was an example for us in many ways. There are some things that He did that we obviously cannot do; such as die on behalf of another for the purpose of forgiving their sin debt. However, we can follow the Lord in His example of baptism. Our baptism is used to identify us with Christ. It announces to others that we have made a decision to accept and follow the Lord. Baptism is an important step for a new believer.

Jesus did not start His public ministry until after this event. The Luke passage says that Jesus was about 30 years old when He was baptized. God used this time to publicly announce Jesus’ ministry. Immediately after this event Jesus was led out into the desert by the Holy Spirit to fast and pray. At the conclusion of 40 days of fasting, Satan came to tempt the Lord. When the Lord began His public ministry He also immediately began to be a practical example for us in devotion to God and resistance to the temptations of the devil.

The Trinity is beautifully displayed in each of the three passages that we’ve looked at which cover the baptism of Christ. In each passage we see God the Father, God the Son (Jesus) and God the Holy Spirit. They are three distinct persons, yet They work together to accomplish Their will.

The baptism of Jesus was also used to endorse the ministry of John the Baptist. God, through Jesus, was putting His stamp of approval on the preaching and teaching of John. People should listen to what John had to say because he was preaching the truth.

The baptism of Jesus certainly is a turning point in the ministry of John and Jesus. John continued to preach, but as we see in John chapter 1, some of John’s own disciples left him to start following Jesus after this important time. Jesus also began to teach and to preach publicly, though we also know that He spent time before this in the synagogues learning from and teaching the Jews about God’s law.

What else is the story of Jesus’ baptism teaching? Please leave your answer in the comments area below.

Do you want to learn more about the purpose of our baptism? Take a look at this related article:

Does Baptism Save you?

Resource – The Holy Bible, King James Version, YouTube “I have decided to follow Jesus” by Aaron Pelsue

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Godlove February 26, 2013 at 9:37 am

Greater is no love than this that a man will lay down his life for his friends
The baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ teaches us humbleness


Juma Henry Juma November 17, 2016 at 8:46 am

In addition to the beautiful article above, i feel to share on this doctrine of baptism.
While we look on the word itself, Baptism is an act and is an element. Therefore it will be true to note that Jesus was baptized in water (element). “Jesus came up immediately from the water” (Matt 3:16)

Jesus baptism was the baptism of the Messiah himself; the fulfillment of the sign.
While on his mission “the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! This is He of whom i said, ‘After me comes a man who is proffered before me, for He was before me.’ I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore i came baptizing with water.”

“Jesus came from Galilee to john to be baptized” (Matt.3:15) so as to fulfill all Righteousness.
His baptism was not of repentance of sin, He needed not to repent, He is the Christ, the anointed, and the Holy one of God (Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; Acts 10:27; 1John 2:20).
Jesus Baptism was a conferring of Sonship. (Matt. 3:16-17) “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
At His baptism the spirit of the Father spoke to show that a man in the Earth is able to be filled with the spirit of God, and by this work of the Spirit we have come to know the Father who Has sent Him. Well, Jesus the Christ knows the voice of the Father, He is familiar with it, He has been calling Him Abba,
(Mark 14:35-36) Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
With the spirit of the Father conferred we became the sons of God, and by whom we call Him Father
(Rom 8:15-17) “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
Wao! what Adam had lost was now restored in Jesus and much more so now the spirit was living in man. Jesus was not just a ‘living soul’, but a ‘life giving spirit’
Jesus baptism satisfied the will of God, thus fulfilling all righteousness and so it is the will of God for us too


John Prasad Yejerla September 1, 2019 at 10:02 pm

This is a very good article. It is well written, The sentences are short. You shared very important points. May the Lord use this for His glory!


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