Feast of the Baptism of Jesus

by Christine Sine

Baptism-of-Christ-xx-Francesco-Alban

Today (January 12th) the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord. The Church recalls Our Lord’s second manifestation or epiphany which occurred on the occasion of His baptism in the Jordan. Jesus descended into the River to sanctify its waters and to give them the power to beget sons of God. The event takes on the importance of a second creation in which the entire Trinity intervenes.

In the Eastern Church this feast is called Theophany because at the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan God appeared in three persons. The baptism of John was a sort of sacramental preparatory for the Baptism of Christ. It moved men to sentiments of repentance and induced them to confess their sins. Christ did not need the baptism of John. Although He appeared in the “substance of our flesh” and was recognized “outwardly like unto ourselves”, He was absolutely sinless and impeccable. He conferred upon the water the power of the true Baptism which would remove all the sins of the world: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold Him Who takes away the sin of the world”.

Many of the incidents which accompanied Christ’s baptism are symbolical of what happened at our Baptism. At Christ’s baptism the Holy Spirit descended upon Him; at our Baptism the Trinity took its abode in our soul. At His baptism Christ was proclaimed the “Beloved Son” of the Father; at our Baptism we become the adopted sons of God. At Christ’s baptism the heavens were opened; at our Baptism heaven was opened to us. At His baptism Jesus prayed; after our Baptism we must pray to avoid actual sin.

— Excerpted from Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas

A prayer of proclamation!

John is baptising when Jesus draws near. Perhaps he comes to sanctify his baptiser; certainly he comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters. He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; he who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water.

The Baptist protests; Jesus insists.
He is the lamp in the presence of the sun.
The voice in the presence of the Word
The friend in the presence of the Bridegroom
The greatest of all born of woman in the presence of the firstborn of all creation.
The one who leapt in his mother’s womb in the presence of him who was adored in the womb
The forerunner and future forerunner in the presence of him who has already come and is to come again.

John is baptising when Jesus draws near. Perhaps he comes to sanctify his baptiser; certainly he comes to bury sinful humanity in the waters. He comes to sanctify the Jordan for our sake and in readiness for us; he who is spirit and flesh comes to begin a new creation through the Spirit and water. (From Micha Jazz)

A Ukranian Theophany hymn. 

To Jordan’s water, to Jordan’s water Christ comes to be baptized. John the Forerunner, John the Forerunner, Now humbly steps aside. Christ Our Lord is baptized. Salvation is now realized. Skies of heaven open, God the Father spoken, O’er the Jordan a Dove, Holy Spirit of Love – Revelation from above.

Three Persons in God, Three Persons in God, Are now revealed to us. Father and Son, Father and Son, Holy Spirit – One God. Christ Our Lord is baptized. Salvation is now realized. Skies of heaven open, God the Father spoken, O’er the Jordan a Dove, Holy Spirit of Love – Revelation from above.

Saint John the Baptist, Saint John the Baptist, Foretells release today. The Lamb of God, the Lamb of God, Will wash our sins away. Christ Our Lord is baptized. Salvation is now realized. Skies of heaven open, God the Father spoken, O’er the Jordan a Dove, Holy Spirit of Love – Revelation from above.

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4 comments

Michelle January 12, 2014 - 10:04 am

hmmmmmmmmm I sort of question: baptism did not MAKE Jesus one of the Trinity…maybe, John’s actual “baptizing” Jesus, SHOWED us that Jesus is One of the Threesome God? And at OUR baptism, the Church SHOWS us all that we are God’s offsprings? hmmmmmmmm MAYBE?

Reply
Christine Sine January 12, 2014 - 1:16 pm

Michelle I am not sure what you mean. You are right – baptism did not make Jesus God but it did reveal him as God just as I think that our baptism does not really make us children of God it reveals what God has always intended that we are also counted as children of God.

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charlie1955 January 12, 2014 - 7:39 pm

That is why our Eastern siblings in Christ refer to this as the Theophany.. Jesus’ baptism reveals to the world that He is God and one with the Father and the Spirit. Jesus’ baptism also reveals to the world that in the waters of baptism, He identifies with us as truly Immanuel – God WITH us.

In our own baptism, we are united with Christ, and are made one with the whole people of God.

Reply
Christine Sine January 12, 2014 - 8:39 pm

Thanks Charlie that is how I see it too

Reply

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