When Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
This is a great mystery—not for the Lord, but for man: Christ is baptized and we are washed; the Spirit descends and we are sanctified; the Father speaks and we learn the sound of his voice.
Ponder this scene and witness our redemption! Entering the dark waters, the Lord shows forth his death; rising from the depths, he shows forth his resurrection. The Spirit of holiness declares him Son of God in power. The Father smiles upon his servant’s oblation.
The water does not cleanse the Lord, but the Lord cleanses the water. He does not make water what it is not, but shows it for what it truly is. Water purifies and nourishes the flesh. So it purifies and nourishes the soul. Not by its own power is water effective, but by the love of the Father, the condescension of the Son, and the blessing of the Holy Spirit.
Christian, imitate your Christ, who offered himself to the Father in charity. Your worship is not servile fear, but filial obedience. Render a thanksgiving of love to the God of all, who gives you life, in this world and the next. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Christian, receive the vitalizing Spirit, the anointing from on high. He is the Breath which carries the Word of life. He will make of you a prince, a prophet, and a priest, that you may minister the gospel among the nations.
Christian, see what love the Father has for you, that you should be called his beloved child. You are no longer a slave but a son. We are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Seek first his kingdom, that he may be well pleased.
Celebrate, beloved, shout for joy to the Lord, for today the One shines out, the threefold Light shines bright: the Father sending, the Son manifesting, the Spirit confirming. Behold the philanthropy which secures your salvation. The Lord is the lover of mankind. O how good and sweet is your Spirit in all things!
God has given himself to us. The heavens were opened. He has anointed us with the chrism of gladness which is the Holy Spirit, that we may radiate like the Sun of Righteousness. What shall we render to the Lord in return? Only the gift of our inner man will suffice: love for love. Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.
Let our prayers be set as incense before you, O Lord. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise: the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. Amen.