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The Humble witness of John the Baptist

 

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

Sunday 14th December 2014  ADVENT 3    9.30am @ St A’s & 630pm @ St Pete’s

The humble witness of John the Baptist  

 

As we journey through Advent, we are preparing ourselves for the coming of the Christ child. This week we encounter the preparatory ministry of John the Baptist. John is indeed one of the most prominent characters in the New Testament. He was given the unique privilege of heralding the messianic age by preparing the people for the coming of Jesus’ messianic ministry.

 

The Gospels have many wonderful things to say about John and his ministry. In Luke’s Gospel, the Angel Gabriel spoke of him in glowing terms when he said, “he will be great in the sight of the Lord…. He will go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah…. and will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.” In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus himself, said of him, “I tell you the truth, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater that John the Baptist…. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.”  In Mark’s Gospel we learn that, “the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him, and were baptized by him, confessing their sins”.

 

Yet despite all this acclaim, John did not have a lofty opinion of himself. Instead, as today’s reading from John’s Gospel indicates, he presented himself merely as a voice. Although his preaching and baptizing ministry was highly successful he never lost sight of the fact that his role was simply to be a signpost, pointing people to Jesus.

 

As we approach Christmas this year, may we have the same humble attitude of John. May we too be voices who speak out about the wonder of the incarnation of God in Christ and may our lives bear witness to the reality of Jesus presence amongst us.

 

 

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28 – Final Exhortations, Greetings, and Benediction   

12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you;  13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.  14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them.  15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.  16 Rejoice always,  17 pray without ceasing,  18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.  19 Do not quench the Spirit.  20 Do not despise the words of prophets,  21 but test everything; hold fast to what is good;  22 abstain from every form of evil. 23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. 25 Beloved, pray for us. 26 Greet all the brothers and sisters[f] with a holy kiss.  27 I solemnly command you by the Lord that this letter be read to all of them. 28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

 

John 1:6-8, 19-28 – The Testimony of John the Baptist

6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.  7 He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.  8 He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”  20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.”  21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.”  22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”  23 He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’” as the prophet Isaiah said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.  25 They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah,[b] nor Elijah, nor the prophet?”  26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,  27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.”  28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.