The baptism of Jesus marks the beginning of his public ministry. This event is recorded in the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's gospel does not describe Jesus' baptism, but John the Baptist does testify of the other things in .
In the New Testament, John the Baptist preached the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins ( ), and declared himself a forerunner of he that would baptize "with the Holy Ghost and with fire" ( ). In so doing he was preparing the way for Jesus. Jesus came to the Jordan River where he was baptized by John. The baptismal scene includes the heavens opening, a dove-like descent of the Holy Spirit, and a voice from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.
Most modern scholars view the fact that Jesus was baptized by John as an historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned. Along with the crucifixion of Jesus most scholars view it as one of the two historically certain facts about him, and often use it as the starting points for the study of the historical Jesus.
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings. Although traditionally made in flat panels and used as windows, the creations of modern stained glass artists also include three-dimensional structures and sculpture.
Modern vernacular usage has often extended the term "stained glass" to include domestic leadlight and objets d'art created from came glasswork exemplified in the famous lamps of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
As a material stained glass is glass that has been coloured by adding metallic salts during its manufacture. The coloured glass is crafted into stained glass windows in which small pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures, held together (traditionally) by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame. Painted details and yellow stain are often used to enhance the design. The term stained glass is also applied to windows in which the colours have been painted onto the glass and then fused to the glass in a kiln.
Stained glass, as an art and a craft, requires the artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design, and the engineering skills to assemble the piece. A window must fit snugly into the space for which it is made, must resist wind and rain, and also, especially in the larger windows, must support its own weight. Many large windows have withstood the test of time and remained substantially intact since the late Middle Ages. In Western Europe they constitute the major form of pictorial art to have survived. In this context, the purpose of a stained glass window is not to allow those within a building to see the world outside or even primarily to admit light but rather to control it. For this reason stained glass windows have been described as 'illuminated wall decorations'.