John, cousin of Jesus, was a hermit. He came out of the wilderness, lean from fasting and dressed in skins to preach repentance. He used a ritual of washing, called baptism, meant to wash away sins. He also prophesied of the coming of the Messiah. When Jesus appeared and asked for baptism, John remonstrated, “I have need to be baptized of Thee.” But at Jesus’ insistence John complied. John is shown pouring the water from the Jordon from an escallop shell. He holds a tall cross.
The escallop shell appears again as a border symbol on the right. The descending dove of the Holy Spirit, derived from this scene, is in the upper left: “The Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; and there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou are My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.”
When John the Baptist saw Jesus approach he said: “Behold the Lamb of God Which taketh away the sin of the world.” This Lamb is bearing aloft the banner of victory of life over death and sin.
Right Window Pane
Immediately after His Baptism, Jesus went alone into the wilderness for forty days. Three times the devil tempted Him. First, he suggested that He change stones into bread and a cup. Next he offered Him mastery of all earthly kingdoms, shown here by buildings of diverse styles. And lastly, the devil suggested that Jesus throw Himself down from the highest pinnacle of the Temple, trusting that God’s angels would quickly move in to save Him from hurt. These three temptations may signify that Jesus had realized His heavenly gifts and in His humility was briefly tempted to use them for His own personal gain. These ideas He quickly and completely reflected. To give in would have indicated a willingness to bow to the temptations of Satan like other men.
Symbolic of the cost He would have to pay is the cross of the Crucifixion in the right border. Symbolic of the triumph is the symbol at the upper left: IC XC NIKA, which means Jesus Christ the Victor.