I love this picture and the event it depicts, the Savior of the world showed by example the way we are to live and though he himself had no sin to be cleansed of was baptized.
Until now I had not thought much about the man performing ordinance and what he might have felt being asked to be the one to baptize the Savior. One of my very favorite primary songs is Baptism. These are the words to this song;
1. Jesus came to John the Baptist,In Judea long ago,And was baptized by immersionIn the River Jordan's flow.
2. "To fulfill the law," said Jesus,When the Baptist questioned why,"And to enter with my FatherIn the kingdom up on high."
3. Now we know that we must alsoWitness faith in Jesus' word,Be baptized to show obedience,As was Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Words: Mabel Jones Gabbott, 1910-2004. (c) 1969 IRIMusic: Crawford Gates, b. 1921. (c) 1969 IRI. Arr. (c) 1981, 1989 IRIThe words, 'when the Baptist questioned why' seem to take on a new meaning when you think about what he did and what he was feeling.John the Baptist was a prophet and a baptist. His calling was that of calling men unto repentance by baptism. In Luke 3:16 we read this;John declared that he would baptize with water but that Jesus would baptize “with the Holy Ghost and with fire”As a prophet John the Baptist prepared people to follow Jesus Christ. I imagine the feelings of inadequacy that may follow being asked to baptize the perfect Son of God. Though Christ was not in need of the sanctifying benefits of baptism He knew that to be the perfect exemplar He would lead the straight way for others to follow, even unto the waters of baptism. He demonstrated humility before God the Father and witnessed that he would be obedient in keeping His commandments.Another reference in this set of scripture verses is to the presence of the God head in individual forms. We believe that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings while unified in purpose, individual in purpose. In Matthew 3:16-17 we read that as Christ is in the waters of the river Jordan to be baptized the voice of God comes down from the Heavens and says, 'This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.' And the Holy Ghost descended as gently as a dove. In the institute manual there is further explanation as to the the Holy Ghost and the dove.'The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that the Holy Ghost did not appear as a dove after the baptism of Jesus Christ. Rather, the descending dove signified that the Holy Ghost was present on that occasion: “The sign of the dove was instituted before the creation of the world, a witness for the Holy Ghost, and the devil cannot come in the sign of a dove. The Holy Ghost is a personage, and is in the form of a personage. It does not confine itself to the form of the dove, but in sign of the dove. The Holy Ghost cannot be transformed into a dove; but the sign of a dove was given to John to signify the truth of the deed, as the dove is an emblem or token of truth and innocence” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 81).As with any teaching preparation there is so much to learn. I am grateful for the opportunity to think more in depth about this marvelous event and the principles it teaches me.