How to answer temptations and what happens after baptism. Sat/Sun after Theophany Matthew 4:1-11, Matthew 4:12-17

The history of what Jesus did after His baptism is critical for us to understand. He set the example, both by accepting baptism and showing us what we MUST do after baptism. Let’ look in detail at how to encounter temptation, which will surely come to us. We must be ready.

The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and baptism, and the end, where we will have fought the good fight and finished the course. Readings for the Sunday before Theophany explained.

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.

As many have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. An explanation by Saint Gregory Palamas

Water is a means of cleaning, but not for souls. It can remove dirt from those being baptized, but not the grime which comes from sin. For that reason, the Healer of souls, the Father of Spirits (Heb 12:9), Christ, Who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29), enters into the water before us to be baptized …

Sunday before Theophany. John’s, Christ’s and our baptism explained.

On the Sunday before Theophany we read from the beginning of the Gospel of Mark 2 important prophesies regarding the ministry of Jesus Christ, and regarding the ministry of John the Baptist. The “baptism of John”, and of Christ, and our own is explained, and the admonition of St John: “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight”, which applies to each one of us, all the time, is explained. There is a very important nuance of meaning that is missed by too many Christians. Our life must be a continual attempt to obey this admonition, and without our effort to do so, we cannot be saved, while, on the other hand, our success in fulfilling this command does not determine if we are saved either. This is the old faith vs. works argument, which, for those who were not raised in the church, can be very confusing. It is actually quite easy to understand (after you have understood it!). Our baptism, and all that God does to give us His grace, enables us to become perfected and to know Him. We are responsible for trying, and only because of His help, we will succeed. Overall, if our life is an effort to fulfill this commandment, we will be saved.