CCC 408 The consequences of original sin and of all men’s personal sins put the world as a whole in the sinful condition aptly described in St. John’s expression, “the sin of the world”.1 This expression can also refer to the negative influence exerted on people by communal situations and social structures that are the fruit of men’s sins.2
CCC 438 Jesus’ messianic consecration reveals his divine mission, “for the name ‘Christ’ implies ‘he who anointed’, ‘he who was anointed’ and ‘the very anointing with which he was anointed’. The one who anointed is the Father, the one who was anointed is the Son, and he was anointed with the Spirit who is the anointing.’”3 His eternal messianic consecration was revealed during the time of his earthly life at the moment of his baptism by John, when “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power”, “that he might be revealed to Israel”4 as its Messiah. His works and words will manifest him as “the Holy One of God”.5
CCC 486 The Father’s only Son, conceived as man in the womb of the Virgin Mary, is “Christ”, that is to say, anointed by the Holy Spirit, from the beginning of his human existence, though the manifestation of this fact takes place only progressively: to the shepherds, to the magi, to John the Baptist, to the disciples.6 Thus the whole life of Jesus Christ will make manifest “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.”7
CCC 523 St. John the Baptist is the Lord’s immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.8 “Prophet of the Most High”, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last.9 He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother’s womb welcomes the coming of Christ, and rejoices in being “the friend of the bridegroom”, whom he points out as “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.10 Going before Jesus “in the spirit and power of Elijah”, John bears witness to Christ in his preaching, by his Baptism of conversion, and through his martyrdom.11
CCC 536 The baptism of Jesus is on his part the acceptance and inauguration of his mission as God’s suffering Servant. He allows himself to be numbered among sinners; he is already “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.12 Already he is anticipating the “baptism” of his bloody death.13 Already he is coming to “fulfil all righteousness”, that is, he is submitting himself entirely to his Father’s will: out of love he consents to this baptism of death for the remission of our sins.14 The Father’s voice responds to the Son’s acceptance, proclaiming his entire delight in his Son.15 The Spirit whom Jesus possessed in fullness from his conception comes to “rest on him”.16 Jesus will be the source of the Spirit for all mankind. At his baptism “the heavens were opened”17 – the heavens that Adam’s sin had closed – and the waters were sanctified by the descent of Jesus and the Spirit, a prelude to the new creation.
CCC 608 After agreeing to baptize him along with the sinners, John the Baptist looked at Jesus and pointed him out as the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”.18 By doing so, he reveals that Jesus is at the same time the suffering Servant who silently allows himself to be led to the slaughter and who bears the sin of the multitudes, and also the Paschal Lamb, the symbol of Israel’s redemption at the first Passover.19 Christ’s whole life expresses his mission: “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”20
CCC 613 Christ’s death is both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”,21 and the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the “blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”.22
CCC 713 The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the “Servant songs.”23 These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to give life to the many: not as an outsider, but by embracing our “form as slave.”24 Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.
CCC 719 John the Baptist is “more than a prophet.”25 In him, the Holy Spirit concludes his speaking through the prophets. John completes the cycle of prophets begun by Elijah.26 He proclaims the imminence of the consolation of Israel; he is the “voice” of the Consoler who is coming.27 As the Spirit of truth will also do, John “came to bear witness to the light.”28 In John’s sight, the Spirit thus brings to completion the careful search of the prophets and fulfills the longing of the angels.29 “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God. .. Behold, the Lamb of God.”30
CCC 1137 The book of Revelation of St. John, read in the Church’s liturgy, first reveals to us, “A throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne”: “the Lord God.”31 It then shows the Lamb, “standing, as though it had been slain”: Christ crucified and risen, the one high priest of the true sanctuary, the same one “who offers and is offered, who gives and is given.”32 Finally it presents “the river of the water of life. .. flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb,” one of most beautiful symbols of the Holy Spirit.33
CCC 1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission.34 The descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God.35 He was conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives him “without measure.”36
CCC 1505 Moved by so much suffering Christ not only allows himself to be touched by the sick, but he makes their miseries his own: “He took our infirmities and bore our diseases.”.37 But he did not heal all the sick. His healings were signs of the coming of the Kingdom of God. They announced a more radical healing: the victory over sin and death through his Passover. On the cross Christ took upon himself the whole weight of evil and took away the “sin of the world,”.38 of which illness is only a consequence. By his passion and death on the cross Christ has given a new meaning to suffering: it can henceforth configure us to him and unite us with his redemptive Passion.
1 Jn 1:29.
2 Cf. John Paul II, RP 16.
3 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3,18,3: PG 7/1, 934.
4 Acts 10:38; Jn 1:31.
5 Mk 1:24; Jn 6:69; Acts 3:14.
6 Cf. Mt 1:20; 2:1-12; Lk 1:35; 2:8-20; Jn 1:3 1-34; 2:11.
7 Acts 10:38.
8 Cf. Acts 13:24; Mt 3:3.
9 Lk 1:76; cf. 7:26; Mt 11:13.
10 Jn 1 29; cf. Acts 1:22; Lk 1:41; 16:16; Jn 3:29.
11 Lk 1:17; cf. Mk 6:17-29.
12 Jn 1:29; cf. Is 53:12.
13 Cf. Mk 10:38; Lk 12:50.
14 Mt 3:15; cf. 26:39.
15 Cf. Lk 3:22; Is 42:1.
16 Jn 1:32-33; cf. Is 11:2.
17 Mt 3:16.
18 Jn 1:29; cf. Lk 3:21; Mt 3:14-15; Jn 1:36.
19 Is 53:7,12; cf. Jer 11:19; Ex 12:3-14; Jn 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7.
20 Mk 10:45.
21 Jn 1:29; cf. 8:34-36; 1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pt 1:19.
22 Mt 26:28; cf. Ex 24:8; Lev 16:15-16; Cor 11:25.
23 Cf. Isa 42:1-9; cf. Mt 12:18-21; Jn 1:32-34; then cf. Isa 49:1-6; cf. Mt 3:17; Lk 2:32; finally cf. Isa 50:4-10 and Isa 52:13-53:12.
24 Phil 2:7.
25 Lk 7:26.
26 Cf. Mt 11:13-14.
27 Jn 1:23; cf. Isa 40:1-3.
28 Jn 1:7; cf. Jn 15:26; 5:35.
29 Cf. 1 Pet 1:10-12.
30 Jn 1:33-36.
31 Rev 4:2, 8; Isa 6:1; cf. Ezek 1:26-28.
32 Rev 5:6; Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, Anaphora; cf. Jn 1:29; Heb 4:14-15; 10:19-2.
33 Rev 22:1; cf. 21:6; Jn 4:10-14.
34 Cf. Isa 11:2; 61:1; Lk 4:16-22.
35 Cf. Mt 3:13-17; Jn 1:33-34.
36 Jn 3:34.
37 Mt 8:17; cf. Isa 53:4.
38 Jn 1:29; cf. Isa 53:4-6.