In Advent, it’s normal for one Sunday to be dedicated to the story of John the Baptist. Since we’ve begun a series in the Gospel of John, we’ve continued in that tradition, but at a different time. We’ll see more of John the Baptist yet, but for now, we learn something of what our responsibility is – even at Christmas – through John the Baptist’s testimony. Listen to, or watch, this message based on John 1.19-28 below. (The song with which we closed the service was the old hymn May the mind of Christ, my Saviour.)
On the church calendar, today is known as the Feast of St. John the Baptist. In Québec, it’s known as La Fête Nationale; it’s their version of Canada Day (which is generally considered moving day there). I remember camping near the Québec border one year around this time, thinking, Why are there so many people here from Québec? Then I looked at the calendar.
Most Christians pay less attention to June 24 than do our friends in la belle province. But we do well to pay heed to the story of John the Baptist and to give God thanks for his ministry of preparation. Read again part of what John said to introduce Jesus to the world:
“Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John when he said,
“He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming!
Clear the road for him!’”
“I baptize with water those who repent of their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not worthy even to be his slave and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” (Matthew 3.2-3, 11, NLT)
Here’s your question today: what are you doing to introduce Jesus to the world? Maybe you’re not walking around in a burlap sack and eating bugs while shouting to any who will listen, but what are you doing?
You can engage with your neighbours in helpful ways (last Sunday I suggested the example of cutting the lawn of an ill neighbour). You can invite them to dinner. You can clean up the trash in your neighbourhood. There are all sorts of ways you can introduce Jesus to your community. Take some time to pray, maybe right now, and ask the Lord what yours will be.