The Baptism of the Lord – January 9, 2021

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is observed annually. It falls on the Sunday after January 6, so this year the date is January 9. It commemorates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. It is also known as “Theophany”. The event is a distinct feast day observed in the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican, or Episcopalian Church, as well as the Eastern Orthodox Church. Believers are invited to not only think about the baptism of the Lord Jesus but also of their own baptism.

History of The Baptism of the Lord

Baptism is not uniquely Christian — Mesopotamian, Egyptian, and Eastern religions all practiced forms of baptism in antiquity. It is a central religious rite in Hinduism, various Indigenous American nations, and Judaism. Different types of washings and purification by water are practiced in almost every other religion in the world, including Islam, Buddhism, and Shintoism. It is a central religious rite in Hinduism, various indigenous American nations, and Judaism.

The Baptism of the Lord memorializes the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River by John the Baptist at the start of His ministry. Although it was originally one of three Gospel events marked by the Epiphany, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord was declared as a separate entity from the other two events — the coming of the Magi, and the wedding at Cana. This was done in 1955 by the then Pope, Pius XII.

This feast closes out the Christmas cycle in the Roman Catholic calendar. The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is considered one of the most important Christian holidays, and it is well-known and looked forward to. It is seen as God revealing Himself to man as people identify with Jesus. It reminds the believer that just as Jesus moved from the baptism waters into ministry, they need to move as His disciples in their lives. On the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, they recommit themselves to their Christian identity. Sunday School and church lessons are prepared on the topic to help congregants with this.

The Baptism of the Lord timeline

30 A.D.
Jesus Baptized

Jesus is baptized by John in Bethany on the eastern bank of the Jordan River, near Jericho.

1955
Instituted as a Separate Celebration

The Baptism of the Lord is now celebrated separately from the other three Epiphany celebrations.

1960
Roman Catholic Adoption

The feast is adopted for universal celebration in the Roman Calendar in 1960 and fixed on January 13.

August 2019
Mass Baptisms

In Russia, the Orthodox church performs mass baptisms in rivers to celebrate Christianity in the nation.

The Baptism of the Lord FAQs

What is the meaning of baptism of the Lord?

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord signifies the death and resurrection of Christ and the believer.  It also examines obeying the Word of God. 

What is true about the Baptism of the Lord?

Although Christianity focuses on baptism more than other religions, the practice is not unique to Christianity.  The way it is practiced by the church is specific to the faith, and different denominations have different baptism rituals.

When was the baptism of the Lord painted?

Arguably, the most successful painting of the Baptism of Our Lord was painted by Bartolome Esteban Murillo. The painting was completed in 1655 and belongs to the group of works depicting the life of John the Baptist.

How To Celebrate Baptism of the Lord

  1. Get baptized

    This is the best way to celebrate the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Commit to and prepare yourself for baptism to observe the holiday. This preparation would have to occur a little before January.

  2. Study interesting baptismal traditions

    Various media sources depict different kinds of baptismal traditions. Take the time to study them and tell your family and friends about those that were most interesting.

  3. Encourage people

    Encourage people interested in baptism to do so, and then document their journey to encourage others. Sometimes people, especially introverts, need an encourager to do things they have been thinking about.

5 Things You Should Know About Baptism

  1. Illegal to baptize

    In countries where it is illegal to preach the gospel, baptism is also not allowed.

  2. Baptisms don’t always happen in church

    People are baptized in rivers, lakes, swimming pools, and even bathtubs, not only church buildings.

  3. Emergency baptisms

    In the Catholic Church, emergency baptisms may be done by laypeople, while any congregation member may baptize in charismatic circles.

  4. Welsh baptism

    In Wales, when a baby is baptized, he or she is partly submerged in holy water and if the baby holds his or her head above water, he or she will enjoy a long life.

  5. Baptism is not well understood anymore

    In a 2013 poll in the U.S. the majority of people admitted to not understanding baptism.

Why the Baptism of the Lord Is Important

  1. It reminds us that baptism is precious

    Baptism is considered one of the most precious sacraments. It is a privilege that should not be engaged in lightly.

  2. It encourages us to stand up for what we believe

    The New Testament gives a commandment for people to be baptized. If we profess faith, we need to take a stand and do what the Bible says, which takes courage.

  3. It reminds us of what baptism means

    The words to the baptism sacrament remind us that we are baptized into Christ and can follow His example here on earth. That is a great encouragement.

The Baptism of the Lord dates

YearDateDay
2023January 8Sunday
2024January 7Sunday
2025January 12Sunday
2026January 11Sunday
2027January 10Sunday

Holidays Straight to Your Inbox

Every day is a holiday!
Receive fresh holidays directly to your inbox.