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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

The Baptism of the Lord - a Mystery of Theophany

When John baptizes the Lord in the River Jordan, Christ establishes a reference point all of human history, the sacred history of Israel and each one of our personal stories. The deliverance of Israel from pharaoh's chariots in the Waters of the Red Sea flows into the Lord's passing into these waters. The crossing over of the People of God into the Promise Land floods within Christ's immersion. The mystery of Elijah's crossing of the Jordan returns when Christ comes up from its currents: instead of a fiery chariot that takes up and away, a dove comes down and remains on the Son of the Father. The dark powers in the Jordan's currents so fatal to humanity could not keep Christ down anymore than Pharaoh's chariots could destroy Israel. The fulfillment of divine promises that Joshua led unveils an even more wonderful faithfulness in Jesus. The double portion of Elijah's spirit that Elisha knew speaks into the Gift of the Holy Spirit when the Father's voice resounds. The whole cosmos is changed and the floods of futility that subjected the human heart are now purified and made subject to Life Himself. A new spiritual dynamic is sewn into the human heart, a invincible movement of faith - for heaven has come down to earth and the Word of the Father makes known the Holy Trinity, not by what He said or did, but by what was done to Him. And so it is when we accept the baptism that the Lord has for us, it gives space for the Trinity to act with saving power.

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