Why marvelest thou?—Theophany

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, one God, Amen.

“Why marvelest thou?” calleth out the Lord, “When, O Forerunner of Salvation, I come to be baptised of thee.  From our very first encounter thou didst leap in thy mother’s womb. (Luke 1:41–45)  Thy preaching cometh to an end and I shall take up the refrain, ‘Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’” (Matthew 3:2, 4:17)

The most honoured of prophets replieth, “Thou art my cousin yet the cause of my marvel cometh not from our kinship but from hearing the Word of ‘the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ (John 1:29)  By thy Word thou hast created the Heavens and the Earth, by thy Word thou hast wrought mighty works, by thy Word thou hast saved thy people subjected to slavery in Egypt and, oh the greatest of marvels, by thy Word thou didst become incarnate of a Virgin.  And now stand I, trembling before my Creator, hear thy Word and consent to baptise thee, that thou shouldst take up my refrain, ‘Repent,’ and I should complete my work.”

“Behold,” replyeth he, “thy work is yet incomplete.  I shall send thee on ahead of me to prison and to death, that thou mayest preach even in the realm of Hades the end of his dominion.  I am coming and his armies cannot overcome me nor his bonds ensnare me.  I am coming and his unjust hold over my creatures shall come to an end.  I am coming and with me I shall raise thee up and all the dead that ye may all be ‘the children of light, and the children of the day,’ (1 Thessalonians 5:5) and receive eternal life.”

At these words the greatest among all the prophets fulfilled all righteousness and consented to baptise the Master.  “And behold, the heavens,” which had been shut through disobedience, “were opened,” through obedience, “and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’”

O Lord, who wast baptised by John in the Jordan for our sake, glory to thee!

Titus, my son, the grace of God has appeared for the salvation of all men, training us to renounce irreligion and worldly passions, and to live sober, upright, and godly lives in this world, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of the great God and Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit, which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
— Titus 2:11–14, 3:4–7

At that time, Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptised by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptised by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptised, he went up immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and alighting on him; and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
— Matthew 3:13–17