The Proclamation of John the Baptist
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
‘See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight” ’,
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, ‘The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’
I think now more than ever people are looking for this identity – looking to belong to something greater than that offered by the world around them. People are looking for the promises of God – salvation, peace, and justice to take root in their very lives. So I think during this Advent Season it’s also important to take a notice to what voices you are listening to – are they those of John the Baptist inviting you further into the mysteries of what God is doing in our world – or are they the voices of this world that tell you what to believe, how to behave, and what to buy? Are you listening to the voice and witness of scripture that tells us over and over again about how much God loves us and brings us out of wilderness, or the voice of fear and destruction that the world seems to be screaming these days?
We live in an age where everyone has a voice – its part of the revolution that has been the internet, suddenly everyone is a publisher, everyone is able to post something, or publish something to the web. And so I wonder this Advent Season, what are you going to do with your voice – how are you going to be a proclaimer of “the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ?” Is it possible to be like John the Baptist to point in all that we do to the one who is coming that is greater than us – to Jesus Christ – the Messiah?