January 7, 2018

Sunday after Theophany, Tone 6; Synaxis of the Holy and Glorious Prophet, Forerunner and Baptist John

Ephesians 4:7-13; Acts 19:1-8
Matthew 4:12-17; John 1:29-34

Christ is baptized! In the Jordan!

The effects of the Baptism of Christ’s human nature, of His body and soul, His mind and will, are immediate, for the world around Him may also be baptised through Him. In the icon of Theophany we see in the waters of the Jordan a serpent-monster, a demon lurking in the water. Through Christ’s Coming, the whole world can be purified and redeemed. This process began with the purification of water, on which all life depends, of which our own bodies are mainly made up. Through Christ’s Baptism the way is open for the baptism of the whole of mankind and the purification of the whole Cosmos. Christ’s Baptism was the beginning of the purging of the world from evil. Those who reject Baptism allow the world to be filled with evil once more. This is why we baptise the new-born child, before the seeds of evil can come to lurk in his soul. This is why we sprinkle with Theophany water our homes and work-places, our cars and buses – so that no evil can lurk in them.

Although we believe that there is only One Baptism, in Church practice we use the word baptism in a figurative sense, for the sacrament of Confession is often called ‘a second baptism.’ It is through the ‘second baptism’ of Confession that we can renew ourselves by preparing ourselves to receive the Body and Blood of Christ, in the same way as the waters of the Jordan received Christ bodily when He was baptised. Thus among us too the old waters of the Jordan of human sin can be driven back and sin flees, as the demon-serpent is driven out of us by the Appearance of Christ and His Enlightenment of us.

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