Matthew 3; Mark 1; Luke 3

January 23, 2023 to January 29, 2023

Jesus was baptized to fulfill all righteousness and thereby made a covenant with God. Followers of Christ submit to baptism to show their desire to be forgiven and to enter into God’s kingdom. Jesus had no need to be forgiven of sin but still was baptized to fulfill the commandment. 


“John the Baptist,” Loui Novak, Encyclopedia of Mormonism

An overview of John from the miracle of Elisabeth’s conception to his ministry, being beheaded, and his postmortal ministry to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery.

Chart 8-10: “Baptism of Jesus in the Four Gospels,” Charting the New Testament, John W. Welch, John F. Hall

All four Gospels and the Joseph Smith Translation of Matthew give an account of the baptism of Jesus. This chart presents a side-by-side comparison of each account of how Jesus was baptized. 

“Dove, Sign of,” Robert L. Marrott, Encyclopedia of Mormonism

The Holy Ghost is a personage and does not confine himself to the form of a dove, but the sign of a dove was given to John the Baptist to signify the truth of the baptism of Jesus, according to Joseph Smith. 

“Understanding Christian Baptism through the Book of Mormon,” Noel B. Reynolds, BYU Studies, 51, no. 2

Why baptism? What does baptism really mean? Noel Reynolds shows how the Book of Mormon adds to what the New Testament teaches: Baptism is a sign of a covenant between a person and God and shows that we repent of sin. It is important to recognize that people being baptized do not wash away their own sins through baptism but seek to have their sins forgiven and desire to enter into a covenant with God. Jesus had no need to be forgiven of sin, but he still had to enter the covenant and thus was baptized.

“Baptism,” Carl S. Hawkins, Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Latter-day Saint teachings show the need for baptism, the several aspects of the covenant that the person and God are entering into, and the rich symbolism of the ordinance.


This week’s lesson asks, Who was Mark? Julie Smith tells us what we know and don’t know about the author of Mark. Then, S. Kent Brown shows how John the Baptist’s words (Luke 3:16, 17) are evidence that John knew his role as a minister and Jesus’ role as the Christ.

The Gospel of Mark: What Does the Gospel Indicate about Its Author? Excerpted from The Gospel according to Mark, by Julie M. Smith, a volume of the BYU New Testament Commentary

On the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark, the name Mark does not appear but was evidently added later. The name Mark was rare for Jews but very common in the Roman Empire. Some characteristics of the author can be deduced from the text. Mark explains some Jewish customs; traditionally, it was assumed that this was because Mark (but not the audience) was familiar with them. Alternatively, some scholars feel that these descriptions show a limited understanding of Judaism, perhaps implying that Mark was not Jewish, but this is disputed, especially since Mark contains many biblical allusions. It is also possible that these descriptions are provided for dramatic effect and not because they provide new information to the audience. Perhaps it is safe to say that the data suggests that the author knew (at least some) Aramaic, knew Greek (but wrote it poorly), was likely to have been a Jew, and is associated with Rome.

Luke 3:16, 17: John the Baptist foretells Jesus’ baptism, Excerpted from The Testimony of Luke, by S. Kent Brown, a volume of the BYU New Testament Commentary

This verse-by-verse commentary goes deep into the words and meaning of these two significant verses.

Luke 3:16, 17: John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.

John answered: Here John’s response about himself points first to his ministering acts and then to the one who “cometh,” the same order as in John 1:26–27. According to John’s Gospel, the Baptist answers the queries of authorities by saying that he is not the Christ nor Elijah nor “that prophet” (John 1:20–21).

I indeed baptize you with water: Here Luke turns to words of John that he shares with Matthew and Mark, though Matthew adds “unto repentance,” a phrase missing in the records of Mark and Luke (see Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8). Perhaps Luke means to place emphasis on the difference between the water baptism that the Baptist offers and the Messiah’s baptism “with the Holy Ghost and with fire” that not only comes to one who repents but also purges the person’s sins (see 2 Ne. 31:13–14; 3 Ne. 9:20; 12:2). The phrase “with water” or “in water” represents a dative of instrument.

Read the post for the rest of the commentary.