"Baptism of Christ" redirects here. For other uses, see Baptism of Christ (disambiguation).
Baptism of Jesus
Verrocchio, Leonardo da Vinci - Battesimo di Cristo.jpg
The Baptism of Christ by Andrea del Verrocchio and Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1475
Date Early 1st century AD
Location Present-day Al-Maghtas, Jordan
Participants Jesus, John the Baptist
The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist is a major event in the life of Jesus which is described in three of the gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke.[a] It is considered to have taken place at Al-Maghtas, also called Bethany Beyond the Jordan, today located in Jordan.
Modern biblical scholars view the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist as a historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned. Along with the crucifixion of Jesus, biblical scholars view it as one of the two historically certain facts about him, and often use it as the starting point for the study of the historical Jesus.
The baptism is one of the events in the narrative of the life of Jesus in the canonical Gospels; others include the Transfiguration, Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. Most Christian denominations view the baptism of Jesus as an important event and a basis for the Christian rite of baptism (see also Acts 19:1–7). In Eastern Christianity, Jesus' baptism is commemorated on 6 January (the Julian calendar date of which corresponds to 19 January on the Gregorian calendar), the feast of Epiphany. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion, the Lutheran Churches and some other Western denominations, it is recalled on a day within the following week, the feast of the baptism of the Lord. In Roman Catholicism, the baptism of Jesus is one of the Luminous Mysteries sometimes added to the Rosary. It is a Trinitarian feast in the Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Most modern scholars believe that John the Baptist performed a baptism on Jesus, and view it as a historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned. James Dunn states that the historicity of the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus "command almost universal assent". Dunn states that these two facts "rank so high on the 'almost impossible to doubt or deny' scale of historical facts" that they are often the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus. John Dominic Crossan states that it is historically certain that Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan.
In the Antiquities of the Jews (18.5.2) 1st-century historian Flavius Josephus also wrote about John the Baptist and his eventual death in Perea.
The existence of John the Baptist within the same time frame as Jesus, and his eventual execution by Herod Antipas, is attested to by 1st-century historian Flavius Josephus and the overwhelming majority of modern scholars view Josephus' accounts of the activities of John the Baptist as authentic. Josephus establishes a key connection between the historical events he recorded and specific episodes that appear in the gospels. The reference in the Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus to John's popularity among the crowds (Ant 18.5.2) and how he preached his baptism is considered a reliable historical datum. Unlike the gospels, Josephus does not relate John and Jesus, and does not state that John's baptisms were for the remission of sins. However, almost all modern scholars consider the Josephus passage on John to be authentic in its entirety and view the variations between Josephus and the gospels as indications that the Josephus passages are authentic, for a Christian interpolator would have made them correspond to the Christian traditions.
One of the arguments in favour of the historicity of the baptism of Jesus by John is that it is a story which the early Christian Church would have never wanted to invent, typically referred to as the criterion of embarrassment in historical analysis. Based on this criterion, given that John baptised for the remission of sins, and Jesus was viewed as without sin, the invention of this story would have served no purpose, and would have been an embarrassment given that it positioned John above Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew attempts to offset this problem by having John feel unworthy to baptise Jesus and Jesus giving him permission to do so in Matthew 3:14–15.
The gospels are not the only references to the baptisms performed by John and in Acts 10:37–38, the apostle Peter refers to how the ministry of Jesus followed "the baptism which John preached". Another argument used in favour of the historicity of the baptism is that multiple accounts refer to it, usually called the criterion of multiple attestation. Technically, multiple attestation does not guarantee authenticity, but only determines antiquity. However, for most scholars, together with the criterion of embarrassment it lends credibility to the baptism of Jesus by John being a historical event.
It is traditionally celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany, oscillating between January 7 and 13, however, different episcopal conferences celebrate it in the same way, but the difference is that this party is only celebrated on the Sunday after Epiphany, oscillating between the 9 and on January 13, if Christmas falls on Monday, Holy Family on December 31, the Solemnity of Saint Mary, Mother of God on Monday, this feast will be celebrated on Monday, 8 January and if Christmas falls on Sunday, the Solemnity of Saint Mary, Mother of God on Sunday, this feast happens to be celebrated on Monday, January 9.