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preaching of St. John Baptist, that they thought he was the Messiah; but he confessed before all, "I am not the Christ. I indeed baptise you with water unto repentance; but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and gather His wheat into the garner; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
12. THE BAPTISM OF JESUS; AND HIS TEMPTATION IN THE WILDERNESS.
WHILST the people were going in crowds to John, Jesus came from Galilee to the river Jordan, to be baptised by him. John knew who He was, and he felt that he was not worthy to baptise his Saviour,
and he said, "I have need to be baptised of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" But Jesus replied, 66 Suffer it to be so now for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness." John then baptised Jesus in the river Jordan.
When Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens opened, and the voice of God the Eternal Father was heard saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And that all the people might know that it was Jesus who was meant, the Holy Spirit came down upon Him in the form of a dove.
Thus did God declare that Jesus Christ was His Son; and that He had sent Him on His mission.
After this, the Holy Ghost led our Saviour into the lonely wilderness. In this solitary place He spent forty days, fasting and praying. All this time He
took nothing to eat; and at the end of the forty days He was hungry. The devil took this opportunity to tempt Jesus to break God's law; and he said to Him, "If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread." Jesus knew Satan's wicked designs, and He answered, "It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." When Satan found He could not succeed, he tried another temptation. He then took Jesus to the top of one of the pinnacles of the temple, and said to Him, "If Thou be the Son of God, cast Thyself down; for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning Thee; and in their hands they shall bear Thee up, lest at any time Thou dash Thy foot against a stone."
Jesus thought of nothing but doing
the will of God His Father; and He resisted the temptation, saying, "It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
Satan was, however, so determined to overcome Jesus, that he tried a third temptation. He took Him to the top of a very high mountain, shewed Him all the kingdoms in the world, and promised to give them to Him, if He would only fall down and worship him. This wickedness of Satan moved our blessed Saviour; and He said, "Get thee hence, Satan; for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve." These words overawed Satan, and he went away. The angels then came to minister unto Jesus.
We renounced all the wicked works of the devil when we were baptised; we must also overcome all the temptations of Satan by the word of God. With the help of God's
grace we may do it; for God never suffers us to be tempted above our strength. Jesus is our Saviour; we must also take Him as our model. We must, like Him, resist all the suggestions of the enemy of our souls. Let us fight with the armour of faith; we shall then be the true disciples of Christ.
13. THE FIRST DISCIPLES CHOSEN. JESUS now left the wilderness, and went towards John. As soon as John saw Him again, he was filled with holy joy, and said, "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 that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come