GREAT LESSONS REGARDING THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Dearest brothers and sisters!
Having come to us, for the purpose to save all humanity, and to preach the Light, the Way and the Truth, our Lord, Jesus Christ, did not commence His teachings to the people before the age of thirty. At that time, it was customary for no one, in adherence to Hebrew law, to represent oneself as a teacher of the people, or to be even called a rabbi.
Before our Lord was 30 years of age, He lived a life of an ordinary young man, with His Holy Mother, in Nazareth, in the house of Joseph; helping the elder Joseph with the chores of wood working. In this way, our Lord and Son of God, remained for a long time, secluded from the purpose of His Promise, so that the people who heard of His birth, would be better prepared in accepting Him, and for Him, the Christ, to give Him time to mature in wisdom and grace.
When it came to pass, that our Lord achieved the required age to preach, the time had come for Him to appear to the people, and “the word of God came to John, son of Zechariah, in the desert. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin.” (Luke 3: 2-3) And in addition, this would serve as a sign for John the Baptist, to recognize the Messiah – the Christ.
And then, John approached the river Jordan, preaching to all the importance of confessing of one’s sins, and by achieving this confession through baptism, he said that the Kingdom of God was at hand and the time of the Messiah was near. All went forth to the river Jordan, to confess their sins and to receive baptism from John.
Amongst the people, having come from Galilee, approaching John was our Lord, Jesus Christ. But He, Who is without blemish and having no need to be baptized, came to the river Jordan, as all others, asking to be baptized and requiring it for the purpose that by His example, it would show the people the need of confession and the washing away of sin, and also, so that the Body of Christ, submerged in the water, would sanctify and Bless the water, giving it a miracle and strength as a Sacrament to the believers, to which our Lord installed in His New Testament Church.
During the baptism of our Lord, a great, unexpected appearance occurred. When Jesus was baptized by John, and went out of the water, the Heavens were opened, and John saw the Spirit of God descending in the form of a dove, upon our Lord, and the voice of the Father, from the Heavens, was heard saying: “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17)
Even though, brothers and sisters, this is a shortened history of the baptism of our Lord, enough has already been said to appreciate the many lessons this Feast offers for us to learn from.
Our Lord, Jesus Christ, One Who is without sin, was baptized. And by His baptism, He made it evidently clear how important baptism is. Giving baptism its place as a Sacrament, and Blessing it with His example, He opened the doors of Heaven and provided eternal beatitude for us, for baptism, “is death for sin, rebirth of the soul, a bright cloche, a delightful passage to Heavenly bliss.” (Saint Cyril of Jerusalem)
In reality, with our own personal baptism, the doors of Heaven were opened, and the Holy Spirit, not in the form of a dove, but still unseen, descended on us, and even though the voice of the Father was not heard from the Heavens, our Father in the Heavens prepared a place for us to be with Him, “and we, as children of darkness, became children of the Light.” (Eph. 5:8)
In celebrating the Feast of our Lord’s Baptism, our Holy Church, before anything, acknowledges our faith and has placed a high regard with respect to the dogma’s of the Holy Trinity, which was clearly revealed to us in the New Testament, and with this, our Holy Church teaches us that all three faces of the Holy Trinity partake, together as One, a very viable role and living interest and interaction, for us to be saved.
You see, dearest brothers and sisters, how many lessons this Holy Feast has offered us to learn from. We, -- a creation, -- continue to offend and insult our Creator through our heavy burdened daily sins. We, as a creation, deserve nothing but punishment, but we are given, through the graces of baptism and confession, a chance, a hope, to cleanse our wicked ways and to be saved.
We, through baptism, were born again with water and with the Spirit and became sons and heirs to the Kingdom of God. To be fully acknowledged as rightful sons and rightful heirs to the Kingdom of God, we must not only partake in the Holy Sacrament of Baptism, thereby, rebirthing ourselves with water and with the Spirit, but we must also submerge fully of ourselves in Christ, living a life that is Christ like. Amen.