6 January 2013

posted 3 Jan 2013, 23:14 by C S Paul

6 January 2013

Sermons Based on the Lectionary of the Syrian Orthodox Church

Baptism of our Lord Jesus Christ (Denaha)

(This festival is called Denaha in Syriac meaning 'Dawn'. Also called Epiphany or Theophany.)


Gospel Reading for this Sunday

Luke 3:15-22 New King James Version (NKJV)

15 Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John, whether he was the Christ or not,

16 John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 

17 His winnowing fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clean out His threshing floor, and gather the wheat into His barn; but the chaff He will burn with unquenchable fire.”

18 And with many other exhortations he preached to the people. 

19 But Herod the tetrarch, being rebuked by him concerning Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done, 

20 also added this, above all, that he shut John up in prison.

John Baptizes Jesus

21 When all the people were baptized, it came to pass that Jesus also was baptized; and while He prayed, the heaven was opened. 

22 And the Holy Spirit descended in bodily form like a dove upon Him, and a voice came from heaven which said, “You are My beloved Son; in You I am well pleased.”


Gospel Reading for Blessing of the Water

John 4:1-42 New King James Version (NKJV)

A Samaritan Woman Meets Her Messiah

1 Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John

2 (though Jesus Himself did not baptize, but His disciples),

He left Judea and departed again to Galilee. 

4 But He needed to go through Samaria.

So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 

6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from Hisjourney, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour.

A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her,“Give Me a drink.” 

8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.

9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.

10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 

12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 

14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”

17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”

Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’

18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”

19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 

20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and youJews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”

21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 

22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 

23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 

24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.

The Whitened Harvest

27 And at this point His disciples came, and they marveled that He talked with a woman; yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why are You talking with her?”

28 The woman then left her waterpot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, 

29 “Come, see a Man who told me all things that I ever did. Could this be the Christ?” 

30 Then they went out of the city and came to Him.

31 In the meantime His disciples urged Him, saying, “Rabbi, eat.”

32 But He said to them, “I have food to eat of which you do not know.”

33 Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has anyone brought Him anything to eat?”

34 Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. 

35 Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! 

36 And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. 

37 For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps.’ 

38 I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors.”

The Savior of the World

39 And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did.” 

40 So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days. 

41 And many more believed because of His own word.

42 Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ,[a] the Savior of the world.”

Why Jesus was Baptized?

by Rev. Fr. K. K. John

The name Snanam: Sanskrit word. It does not convey the exactness of the original Mamodeeso or snanam. Snanam in Sanskrit means, Thechukuli: “Na Snanam Na vilepanam.”

There are two snanams:

1 Baptism of John:

Baptism of John is known as Baptism of repentance, Mt 3:2, Mk 1:4. This was for remission of sins. It was symbolic because, Kumran Manual of discipline says, ‘Mere ablution cannot cleanse but submission of soul to God’s ordinances.’ However it pointed towards Christ.

Jesus was sinless by birth and by deeds and hence repentance baptism was not required.

2 Christian Baptism:

Christian Baptism was instituted after resurrection. This is also called Baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is done in the name of Trinity; Father, Son, H Spirit.

Being one in the Trinity, Jesus had no need to undergo that, which is done in the name of Trinity. “Na kuriyal nishphalam karma” that is: no work without purpose.

Then why he went in for baptizing? There are four reasons:

1. Christ’s Baptism was to reveal Himself as Son of God to Israel. Until then he led a private life.

2. The only purpose of John’s baptism was to publicly testify Jesus as Christ, the anointed, before commencement of public ministry. He came to bear witness to light, Jn 1:8. “I did not know him, but that he should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water, 1:31. He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the spirit descending and remaining on him this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God,” v 33-34.

3. To fulfill righteousness, “Adyacharyathwam kaikondaharon…Yohannan karthavinnum….

Mat 3:14-15 sheds light as to why Jesus subjected himself to baptism.

When Jesus came to be baptized, John tried to prevent him saying, “I need to be baptized by you and now are you coming to me? But Jesus said to him. Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness”. Then he allowed him.

What righteousness is that Jesus talked about? Righteousness is nonnegotiable attribute of God. God cannot do anything repugnant to His own quality. He does not abrogate what he already laid down. Thus God is said as unchangeable, “Same yesterday, today and forever” Heb 13:8.

1 God gave laws through Moses. After Moses’ death God did not give new law but affirmed it to Joshua: Josh 1:7, “Be strong and very courageous to do according to all the law which Moses my servant commanded you; turn not from it to the right or to the left.”

2 Lazarus and the wealthy: Abraham says, people have to obey the laws of Moses, Luke 16:29.

God gave Priesthood to Moses, Aaron and to his sons forever, Ex 28, v1, 41, 29:442. It was imperative that righteous God not violate rather fulfill the conditions of the law, which He had laid. Thus the priesthood once given to the Levite tribe had to be taken back through and by a Levite only. John bequeathed priesthood according to Levite tribe.

Law required 20 years of age for army service Num 1:3 and 30 years to initiate temple services, Numbers, 4:2. Remember, Jesus was 30 years when he went into Jordan, the age according to law to initiate temple service. What happened here was shifting/transfer of Levite priesthood, which was only for Israelites and became redundant, passed into eternal priesthood through Jesus Christ, which was then given to all humanity through Apostles.

4. by entering into the waters of Jordan God purified the whole element of water, which suffered defilement by the fall of man and reverted it to the original status, says Gregory of Nazianzes.


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