St Gregory the Theologian: Oration 39 (part 3)

Eclectic Orthodoxy

Finally St Gregory comes to our Lord’s baptism in the Jordan River. His actual discussion of the event is brief. I for one would have preferred for the bishop to have dwelt on the subject at greater length and depth; but he is also aware that the celebration of tomorrow’s feast will be full and long, including as it will the baptism of his catechumens. A preacher can only say so much in one sermon.

Jesus comes to John for baptism. Perhaps he comes to sanctify the baptizer, Gregory states, but most certainly he comes “to bury the old Adam in the water” (39.15). The salvific work of Christ was not accomplished in an instant by the mere fact of Incarnation in the womb of his mother. It embraces the entirety of our Lord’s life, culminating in his death on Calvary. The sinless One submits to a baptism meant for…

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