I would like to ask all of you to take a walk with me right now. Let us walk down to the Jordan River, where John the Baptist was baptizing others. He was a humble man, clothed in camel hair and a leather belt. He is the greatest of all the apostles, and he is the voice crying in the wilderness to make straight the path of the Lord.
John the Baptist was preaching for the need of repentance and the washing of sins of all those who come to him. And then He appeared. We see our Lord Jesus at 30 years old, asking John the Baptist to baptize him in the Jordan River. At first, John objects, and ask why do you come to me?
“Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness,” Jesus says in Matthew 3:15. Finally John obeys, and Jesus is baptized.
The Epiphany represents the appearance of the Holy Trinity. Because when our Lord Jesus Christ was being baptized, the Holy Trinity came to life. We saw the Son being baptized, we saw the Holy Spirit coming down like a dove, and we heard the voice of the Father proclaiming, “this is my beloved son in whom I am pleased.”
Why did Jesus come to John the Baptist? Did He need cleansing? Did Jesus have anything to wash away? I am sure your answer is “No.”
Sinners came to John, confessed their sins to him. Jesus our Lord and God had no sins to wash away and ask for forgiveness. Yet, here he was, standing in line with other sinners, as if in need of cleansing.
Jesus did this to set an example for us. Jesus did this to let us know we have to obey. Jesus took the flesh incarnate to carry all our sins on His shoulders, and then to die for me and all of you. His baptism is our example that we too must be baptized. This is our covenant, our promise. This is the first step in our journey with God.
Baptism is our commitment with the Holy Trinity, and our entrance into the Christian life. It begins with baptism, continues with our faith and good deeds, and ends hopefully with our salvation.
The baptism opens the door to be within the family of the Lord and have grace and good deeds to hopefully enter into salvation.
Baptism is a new beginning. Like the new year has just begun, it is the beginning of our lives. The baptism of Jesus was also a beginning of His ministry. Proclaiming the good news of His salvation. Jesus’s baptism called for new birth, a second birth. To be born again, it means one must change his/her thoughts and habits.
Not of this world, but of God. St. Paul says “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:12.
When someone is baptized, they must change the lifestyle of sin and evil. It is not a choice. Instead, we must live a life of good deeds and virtue. TO be a true follower of Jesus Christ, one has to be a real Christian. Not just in name only.
Not just live a good life but bring others with them. Remember the last verse of Matthew 28, “Go to the whole world. Baptized in the name of the father, son and Holy Spirit.”
This mission is still valid today. We have the obligation to go out and start preaching and inviting people to be part of this beautiful and wonderful family.
To be born again, one must accept a physical baptism. Maybe not in the Jordan River, but with water brought out of the darkness and into light.
Baptism is a mark of repentance of sin and its forgiveness. Christ dearly beloved came as the lamb of God who takes upon himself the sins of the world, in order to take it away. It is a sign of sanctification. Baptism, and for me this is very important, is a mark of renewal. The old is over and the new has arrived.
We take off the old clothes and we wear white and clean clothes as a new life dedicated and consecrated to the Lord. And bring sins to the end and make all things new.
Learn more in His Eminence’s sermon video here.
January 28, 2024
January 21, 2024