The Youth’s Instructor


March 1, 1874

The Life of Christ—No. 12


His Baptism

After Jesus had been baptized of John in Jordan, he went straightway up out of the water to the bank of the river, and bowed in the attitude of prayer. A new and important era was opening before him, and he felt the solemnity and responsibilities of the new duties he was to perform, and heavier burdens which he was henceforth to bear. His baptism was the first act of his public ministry; and he here identifies himself with sinners as their representative, in taking upon him their sins, and numbering himself with transgressors. In his prayer, Christ, with his human arm, encircles fallen humanity, while with his divine arm he is reaching for the throne of the Infinite. YI March 1, 1874, par. 1

His hands were raised upward, and his eyes were fixed as if penetrating Heaven; and he poured out his soul in supplication to his Father for strength to meet the unbelief and sinfulness of men, to break the power of Satan over man, and to be able to overcome Satan in behalf of man. He presented humanity before his Father, asking that he would grant to fallen man the light and strength and power from his own throne to successfully overcome the prince of the power of darkness. YI March 1, 1874, par. 2

The soul of Christ was burdened with the sense of the sinfulness of men, and the hardness of their hearts, that kept them in unbelief and darkness, so but few would discern his glorious mission and accept the salvation he came from Heaven to bring them. Christ was about to enter upon a scene of fearful trial and temptation, which was to open his life of conflict and suffering. He was to perform new and arduous duties, and bear heavy burdens, such as had never fallen to the lot of men. His sinless humanity supplicates support and strength from his Father as he was about to commence his labors. He asks for the witness that God accepts fallen man, in his Son. He reaches for the throne of God to hang man upon his Father's mercy. YI March 1, 1874, par. 3

Never had angels listened to such a prayer. They were solicitous to bear to the praying Redeemer messages of assurance and love. But no; the Father himself will minister to his Son. Direct from the throne proceeded the light of the glory of God. The heavens were opened, and beams of light and glory proceeded therefrom and assumed the form of a dove, in appearance like burnished gold. The dove-like form was emblematical of the meekness and gentleness of Christ. YI March 1, 1874, par. 4

The people stood spell-bound with fear and amazement. Their eyes were fastened upon Christ, whose bowed form was bathed in the beautiful light and glory that ever surround the throne of God. His upturned face was glorified as they had never before seen the face of man. The thunders rolled and the lightnings flashed from the opening heavens, and a voice came therefrom in terrible majesty, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The words of confirmation were given for the benefit of the witnesses at his baptism, and to assure God's dear Son that his Father accepted humanity through him, their substitute and surety, and that God would connect man to himself, and open Heaven to the prayers of men through the intercession of his Son. YI March 1, 1874, par. 5

Notwithstanding the sins of a guilty world were laid upon his Son, and he had humiliated himself to humanity to save the ruined race, Jehovah's voice assured Christ of his Sonship with the Eternal. In this manifestation, God put his seal to the plan of redemption through his Son, and evidenced that he accepted humanity as exalted through the righteous character and divine excellence of his beloved Son. A way was opened for sinners that, through obedience to God's law and faith in Christ as their Redeemer, they might form righteous characters and become children of God. YI March 1, 1874, par. 6

As John witnessed the Saviour of the world bowed in the deepest humiliation, and pleading fervently with tears for the approval of his Father, he was deeply moved. As the light and glory from Heaven enshrouded the Saviour, and a voice was heard claiming Jesus as the Son of the Infinite, John saw the token God had promised him, and knew for a certainly that the world's Redeemer had received baptism at his hands. With transport of joy and tearful emotion he stretched forth his hand, and pointed to Jesus, saying, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me; for he was before me.” “And I knew him not; but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” And I saw the Spirit descending upon him like a dove and overshadowing him; and I heard the voice of God bear record that this is the Son of God. YI March 1, 1874, par. 7