Scripture Reading: John 1:6-8, 19-28
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 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. –John 1:6-8, 19-23
All of us who accept Christ as our Savior are called as witnesses to testify to the light, so that all might believe in him. A tall order, wouldn’t you say?
John is described in Mark as one wearing clothes of camel’s hair, living on locusts and wild honey. Perhaps he followed the somewhat ascetic ways of the Essene Jews. While outliers like John serve important purposes in helping us think out of the box, most of us are called to live lives within the mainstream that exemplify the life of Christ. He went to weddings; enjoyed a good party; loved children; and was opened and welcoming to all: Roman centurions, lepers, women, strangers, the mentally ill, fishermen, tax collectors, and thieves. He fed the hungry, clothed the naked, healed the sick, welcomed strangers, and restored criminals. He never cast a stone at anyone. He did justice and did not have much patience for religious leaders who practiced self-righteousness rather than justice for all.
Jesus wept over Jerusalem shortly before his arrest. I believe he still weeps over us when we stubbornly ignore his admonitions that lead to a society ruled by love. During this Advent season, we need to review what we preach whether in word or deed and realign our actions to more closely follow Christ’s lead.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me when I let my judgment of the behavior or attributes of any other person interfere with my loving them as you do. Amen.
All scriptures are quoted from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights are reserved.