Meditation on the Baptism of Our Lord

Richard Salbato

Before Each Hail Mary

1.  The Word of the Lord came to John in the desert telling him to go forth and prepare for the way of the Lord.  John had lived in the desert for 30 years, eating honey and locusts.  Because he was raised by animals and taught by Angels, he had the look of a wild man with long hair and beard.  He had piercing eyes that seemed to look right into people's souls.  He was strong and tanned from the sun.  He wore a camel-hair cloth over one shoulder and a leather belt.  When he first came out of the desert to preach, his appearance frightened people.  He was not gentle in his speaking because he knew the sins of mankind and was urgent in his mission. “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”

2. Multitudes of people came out to see this stranger, who looked more like a wild animal than a man. “You offspring of vipers, you think you are blessed because you are the offspring of Abraham, but I say to you that God is able to rise up children of Abraham out of these stones.”

“What then shall we do?”

“If you do not bring forth good fruit, you will be cast into the fire that never ends. Treat people with love and share with them what you have.  Come here and be washed of your sins that you be made ready to accept the coming Messiah.”

3. People wondered if in fact John was the Christ, but John answered that he was not.  They then asked of he was Elias and he said that he was not.

“I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness; make straight the way of the Lord. (Isaias 40-3) I baptize you with water, but there will come one mightier that I, whose shoes I am not worthy to remove or put on.  He will baptize you with the fire of the Holy Spirit. He will have his willowing fan in his hand to clean the floor, and will gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn in the unquenchable fire.”

4.  John was baptizing in the very narrow part of the Jordan in Bethania. From there you could see the dead sea where Sodom and Gamorah were destroyed and the side of the mountain where Lot hid from the falling fires. Behind him you could see the mountain where Moses went up to die.  John saw Jesus walking towards him and shouted out:

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. This is He who I told you about, that after me would come a man, who is above me because He is before me.”

5. Jesus came down to John to be baptized by him, but John said: “I should be baptized by you.”

“Suffer it to be now, for so it becomes us to fulfill justice.”

When Jesus came up out of the water the heavens opened and the Spirit of the Lord descended as a dove came upon him, and a voice from Heaven came for all to hear:

“This is my beloved Son, in whom I am will pleased, hear him.”

6. And Jesus went away into the desert to fast and pray for 40 days where he was temped by the devil.

7. When Jesus came out of the desert after 40 days, John again saw Him. “Behold the lamb of God.”  Those who knew the law were astounded by this statement as they looked at the man John was pointing at. 

The Lamb of God, according to Jewish tradition was the prophesy of Abraham, when he was taking his only son to be sacrificed in the mountains of Salem.  Isaac asked his father where the lamb was for the sacrifice, and Abraham answered, “God, Himself, will supply the lamb for the sacrifice.”  From that time, the Jews waited for the Lamb of God, which would be the final sacrifice and end the Jewish law of sacrifice forever. They expected a real lamb and changed the name of Salem to Jeru-salem.  Jeru means “God will supply the sacrifice.”

8.  Two of John’s disciples followed Jesus, and Andrew, son of Jona, was one of them. Andrew went and found his brother, Simon and said to him: Come, we have found the Messiah, the Christ.” He took him to see Christ and looking upon Simon, Christ said:

“You are Simon, the son of Jona, but from now on you will be called, Cephas (Peter).” Peter means “rock”.

9. The following day they came to Galilee and Jesus saw Philip and said to him: “Follow me.” Philip found Nathaniel and said;

“We have found the Messiah.”

10.  Jesus said of Nathaniel that he was a good and pure man, but Nathaniel wanted to know how Jesus knew him.  When Jesus explained that he could see his entire life, Nathaniel said:  “You are the son of God.”  Jesus answered,

“You now believe because I saw you, but you will see in the future the heavens opened and Angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

The men followed Jesus to Cana of Galilee.