HippolytusDo you see…how many and how great blessings we would have lost, if the Lord had yielded to the exhortation of John, and declined baptism?

For the heavens were shut before this; the region above was inaccessible.

We would in that case descend to the lower parts, but we would not ascend to the upper. But was it only that the Lord was baptized?

He also renewed the old man, and committed to him again the sceptre of adoption.

For straightway “the heavens were opened to Him.”

A reconciliation took place of the visible with the invisible; the celestial orders were filled with joy; the diseases of earth were healed; secret things were made known; those at enmity were restored to amity.

For you have heard the word of the evangelist, saying, “The heavens were opened to Him,” on account of three wonders.

For when Christ the Bridegroom was baptized, it was meet that the bridal-chamber of heaven should open its brilliant gates.

And in like manner also, when the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and the Father’s voice spread everywhere, it was meet that “the gates of heaven should be lifted up.”

“And, lo, the heavens were opened to Him; and a voice was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

The beloved generates love, and the light immaterial the light inaccessible.

“This is my beloved Son,” He who, being manifested on earth and yet unseparated from the Father’s bosom, was manifested, and yet did not appear.

[…] For this reason did the Father send down the Holy Spirit from heaven upon Him who was baptized.

For as in the ark of Noah the love of God toward man is signified by the dove, so also now the Spirit, descending in the form of a dove, bearing as it were the fruit of the olive, rested on Him to whom the witness was borne.

For what reason? That the faithfulness of the Father’s voice might be made known, and that the prophetic utterance of a long time past might be ratified.

And what utterance is this? “The voice of the Lord is on the waters, the God of glory thundered; the Lord is upon many waters.”

And what voice? “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This is He who is named the son of Joseph, and who is according to the divine essence my Only-begotten.

“This is my beloved Son”—He who…suffers, and yet heals sufferings; who is smitten, and yet confers liberty on the world; who is pierced in the side, and yet repairs the side of Adam.

Hippolytus of Rome (c.170-c.236): Discourse on the Theophany, 6-7.