Synopsis: The Sunday before Theophany (the baptism of Jesus Christ), we read from Mark about the "beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ" and about the baptism of John, which is a vivid type of Christian Baptism. The entire selection, form Mark 1:1-8 us explained, and especially how John's baptism (of repentance) is different (and the same) as Christian baptism. It is also appropriate on this day to think about the eventual fruit of baptism, which is human perfection and union with God, and the passage of 2Timothy 4:5-8 presents us with a beautiful "after" picture. This is our destiny, if we accept baptism and work to attain it.
Mark 1:1-8 1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; 7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
2 Timothy 4:5-8 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
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