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“The Baptism of Jesus”
“John the Baptist’s Testimony to Jesus.”
Source: John, Chapter 1:29-34 USCCB
‘John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.’
John testified further, saying,
‘I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.'”
Source: Mark, Chapter 1:9-11 “The Baptism of Jesus” USCCB.org.
“This is what John the Baptist proclaimed:
‘One mightier than I is coming after me.
I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals.
I have baptized you with water;
he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee
and was baptized in the Jordan by John.
On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open
and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him.
And a voice came from the heavens,
‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”
“The Temptation of Jesus.”
Source: USCCB.Org Matthew, Chapter 4:1-11
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
He fasted for forty days and forty nights,* and afterwards he was hungry.
The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
He said in reply, “It is written:
‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”
Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down.
For it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you’
and ‘with their hands they will support you,
lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”
Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written:
‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.’”
Learning Through Storytelling
The two stories of “The Baptism of Jesus” and “The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness ” are among my favorite children’s Bible stories. John the Baptist is the cousin of Jesus. He is wandering through the wilderness telling everyone about the Kingdom of God and telling them to “repent.” Repent means to give up the bad things people were doing, and to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. John the Baptist is also a messenger–it’s his job to pave the way for Christ, the Messiah. “I am baptizing you with water, ” he said, “But someone else will come after me who will baptize you with God’s love.” Source: The Baptism of Jesus by Katherine Sully Illustrated by Simona San Filippo, page 6. Imagine John’s surprise when Jesus comes down to the River Jordan to be baptized among the people of Galilee. Jesus says to John, “I have come to the river today, because this is the right way.” So John baptizes Jesus in the River Jordan.” What do you think you’d feel and think, if you had been there and had seen the Holy Spirit come down in the form of a dove? Imagine hearing God’s voice say, “This is my son, whom I love.” The Baptism of Jesus page 8.
After Jesus is baptized, he leaves the area around Galilee and goes into the wilderness for forty days and forty nights. This is where we now need to remember that although Jesus is “Fully Human” he is also “Fully Divine.” This means that Jesus is God, the Son. Can you guess who might want to trick or tempt Jesus? Hint: Remember the serpent in Adam and Eve? Who really was the serpent? That’s right…it was Satan. Satan is the name Jesus calls the devil. Satan suddenly appears when Jesus is very weak and hungry from a long fast. A “fast” is a time when a person doesn’t eat and sometimes doesn’t drink, too. He offers Jesus three bad temptations–#1 “Turn the stones into bread.” #2 “Throw yourself off this tower for the angels to catch you.” #3 “Worship me not God.” Jesus beats Satan on all the temptations and says to Satan, “No! Go away! We should worship only God.” page 15. Then angels come to take Jesus away and care for him.
Parents, please help your children understand the meanings of the highlighted words.
If you haven’t read this story, you will love reading it, in the Bible, or a Catholic children’s Bible.
Learning Through Reading
“The Baptism of Christ” and the connected story, “The Temptation in the Desert” begin the Gospel of Christ’s life as an adult and his life preaching. “The Baptism of Christ” is the first of the “Luminous Mysteries” for the Rosary. We are introduced to John the Baptist in the first story, and to “Satan” in the second. As you can see, both stories are profoundly important. Here are some different books for the story to read with children. I am listing the ones for younger children first, followed by two which are more complex for older children to enjoy, and the Bible for the family to share. The Catholic Bible for Children does not contain “The Temptation in the Wilderness.”
The Catholic Bible for Children
Catholic Book of Bible Stories
The Children’s Illustrated Bible
First Communion Bible Saint Joseph Edition
Learning Through Writing–The Sacraments
Baptism is a sacrament. “A Sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” Grace is a gift from God and helps us have a share in God’s life. There are Seven Sacraments–Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. Children preparing for First Reconciliation have already received the Sacrament of Baptism and are now preparing for First Confession, with First Eucharist in the spring. I was touched when a child in a previous class had received the Sacrament of Anointing the Sick and had recovered wonderfully.
What Are Sacramentals?
Learning About Sacramentals—”Sacramentals “are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the Sacraments.”
“Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1667.” From “Simply Catholic” by Eddie O’Neill
Sacraments that are mentioned in the Bible: Blessings, The Sign of the Cross; Blessed Salt ,Mark Chapter 9:49-50; Holy Water;
and Blessings at meals.
In my First Holy Communion class of seven and eight-year-olds, I am going to show them three important Sacramentals.
We will begin with making the “Sign of the Cross.” They all will receive a Rosary to keep and to look at and hold in their hands. We will say the prayers the children know; and, and we will discuss Holy Water.
I painted the rocks–two with crosses and one special heart in recognition of Mary. The two rocks are included because I enjoy owning them as a treasure. The heart is special because my husband found it.
Here is a passage about the meaning of rocks from Jesus:
“Jesus is then often referred to as the rock from which the pure waters of salvation flow. But also, a rock is clearly a symbol of firmness, defense, fidelity, and refuge. This image is quite clear in Psalm 18 (“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge”) but also in the gospel of Matthew (Cf. Mt 7, 24).
“The meaning of rocks in Christian art” Aleteia, Daniel Esparza – published on 10/16/19
Our Art Project
This is a simple way to depict the “Baptism of Christ” through “abstract” art for children. I used a pre-fab, small canvas, and watercolor pastel crayons to draw the scene. Then I moistened my finger and smudged the pastel drawing. Next, I used watercolors over the drawing. It is a fun and fast technique. Feel free to use any art supplies you have at home. Crayons and paper would be fine, too.