January 6

When our Lord reached thirty years from His physical birth, He began His teaching and salvific work. He Himself signified this “beginning of the beginning” by His Baptism in the Jordan River. St Cyril of Jerusalem says: “The beginning of the world is water; the beginning of the Gospel is the Jordan.” At the time of the Baptism of the Lord in water, the mystery was declared to the world — the mystery that was prophesied in the Old Testament; the mystery that was known only in fables in ancient Egypt and India — the mystery of the Divine Holy Trinity. The Father was revealed to the sense of hearing, the Spirit was revealed to the sense of sight, and the Son was revealed to the sense of touch. The Father uttered His witness about the Son, the Son was baptized in the water, and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove hovered above the water. When John the Baptist bore witness to Christ, saying: Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29), and when John immersed and baptized the Lord in the Jordan, the mission of Christ in the world and the path of our salvation were shown. That is to say, the Lord took upon Himself the sins of mankind and died under them (immersion) and rose again (the coming out of the water); and we must die to the old sinful man and rise again as cleansed, renewed and regenerated. This is the Savior and this is the path to salvation. The Feast of the Theophany is also called the Feast of Illumination. The event in the Jordan River illuminates us by manifesting God to us as Trinity, consubstantial and undivided. That is one way that we are illumined. And the second way is that every one of us through baptism in water is illumined, in that we become adopted by the Father of Lights through the merits of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.

Lord, when You were baptized in the Jordan, the veneration of the Trinity was revealed. For the voice of the Father gave witness to You, calling You Beloved, and the Spirit, in the guise of a dove, confirmed the certainty of His words. Glory to You, Christ our God, who appeared and enlightened the world.

You appeared to the world today, and Your light, O Lord, has left its mark upon us. With fuller understanding we sing to You: “You came, You were made manifest, the unapproachable light.”