When Christ attained the age of thirty, His time to preach
had come, and He appeared to the people for the first time at the Jordan, where John the Forerunner had been heralding the coming
of the Messiah. He preached baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
Crowds of people came to John from everywhere, and
many began to wonder if he was the promised Messiah, but he told them; "I
indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He that cometh after me is
mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to bear. He shall baptize you
with the Holy Spirit and fire. "
"Then came Jesus
from Galilee to the Jordan unto John to be baptized by him. But John forbad Him,
saying, 'I have need to be baptized by Thee, and comest Thou to me?' And Jesus
answering said unto him, 'Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to
fulfill all righteousness.' Then John suffered Him. And Jesus, when He had
been baptized, went up straightway out of the water. And lo, the heavens were
opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and
lighting upon Him. And lo, a voice came from Heaven, saying, 'THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, IN WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED'" (Matt. -16).
Thus, mystically, the Holy Trinity appeared before
all the people at the baptism of Christ: the voice of God the Father was heard
witnessing to God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit descended as a dove upon the
Savior of the world. That is why this feast day is called Theophany - the
manifestation of God to man.