But John baptizes, Jesus comes to Him...perhaps to sanctify the Baptist himself, but certainly to bury the whole of the old Adam in the water; and before this and for the sake of this, to sanctify Jordan; for as He is Spirit and Flesh, so He consecrates us by Spirit and water. John will not receive Him; Jesus contends. "I have need to be baptized by You" says the Voice to the Word, the Friend to the Bridegroom; he that is above all among them that are born of women, to Him Who is the Firstborn of every creature; he that leaped in the womb, to Him Who was adored in the womb; he who was and is to be the Forerunner to Him Who was and is to be manifested. "I have need to be baptized by You;" add to this "and for You;" for he knew that he would be baptized by Martyrdom, or, like Peter, that he would be cleansed not only as to his feet. "And You come to me?" This also was prophetic; for he knew that after Herod would come the madness of Pilate, and so that when he had gone before Christ would follow him. But what says Jesus? "Allow it to be so now," for this is the time of His Incarnation; for He knew that yet a little while and He should baptize the Baptist.
Gregory Nazianzen, Oration 39, section XV.
The comment about baptizing the Baptist is a reference to John's martyrdom, the baptism of blood.
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