LIFE SERVING THE WILL OF GOD – Sermon by Metropolitan Jonah on Sunday before Epiphany.

Rightly, this Lord’s Sunday is named, the Before Epiphany or, the Before Theophany. (God’s appearance, Mt 3:16-17. Mk 1:10-11. Lk 3:21-22). The revelation of the Word of God the Father in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Both the readings emphasize the great benefit, which is in the life serving the will of God when continually we reject the misguidance from our enemy, the evil-one. The same Lord’s Sunday prepares us to embrace the meaning of Epiphany itself, which is a concept difficult to the Christians of today.

The gospel passage is very characteristic: The Good News of the intervention of God in the history of mankind on earth, by Christ the Son and Word of God, has its roots in the Old Testament. That is why, even almost every writer of the New Testament books make reference to the Old Testament, whenever it is possible for appropriate evidence.

Now here, according to Mark the Evangelist, the Word Son of God becomes Son of Man in Christ Jesus, through lineage of faithful persons, among the Jewish nation of Israel. Not only Christ’s birth was foresaid (Is 7:14; 8:8,10), but also of His chief servant, John the Baptist (Mal 3:1. Is 40:3). From Abraham the forefather of the virtue faith, through king David the faithful, to Christ the founder of believers in the kingdom of God, it is all lineage of believers.

John the Baptist appeared in the desert, baptizing and preaching. “Turn away from your sins (of faithlessness) and be baptized, and God will forgive your sins”. “The man who will come after me is much greater than l am… l baptize you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit”. Mk 1:4-8. “He who comes from above is greater than all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly matters, but He who comes from heaven is above all. He tells what He has seen and heard, yet no one accepts His message”. Jn 3:13,31-32.

Icon of the Baptism of our Lord.

At that time, Jesus arrived from Galilee and came to John at the Jordan River to be baptized by him. But John tried to make Him change the mind…. l ought to be baptized by you, and yet you have come to me! But Jesus answered him. Let it be so for now. For in this way we shall do all that God requires. So, John agreed…. As soon as Jesus was baptized, He came out of the water. Then heaven was opened to Him and saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and lighting on Him. Then a voice said from heaven. This is my own dear Son (the Word) with whom l am pleased”. Mt 3:13-17.

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