Daily Reflection – 1/2/20
And this is the testimony of John. When the Jews from Jerusalem sent priests and Levites [to him] to ask him, “Who are you?” he admitted and did not deny it, but admitted, “I am not the Messiah.” So they asked him, “What are you then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” So they said to him, “Who are you, so we can give an answer to those who sent us? What do you have to say for yourself?” He said: “I am ‘the voice of one crying out in the desert, “Make straight the way of the Lord,” as Isaiah the prophet said.” Some Pharisees were also sent. They asked him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah or Elijah or the Prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water, but there is one among you whom you do not recognize, the one who is coming after me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to untie.” This happened in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing. (John 1:19-28)
“Who are you?” John the Baptist had no difficulty answering this question when the authorities came to investigate him. If someone challenged your identity — both naturally and spiritually, how would you answer? There’s an identity war going on today and many are in crisis or at least confused. We can try to manufacture identity, but it’s derived. And its true source and maker is God who made us in his image and likeness.
John had no mistaken identity. In all humility and sincerity, he said he was only a voice bidding people to prepare the way for the coming of the King. John the Baptist bridges the Old and New Testaments. He is the last of the Old Testament Prophets who points the way to the Messiah. He is the first of the New Testament witnesses and martyrs. John saw from a distance what the Messiah came to accomplish — our redemption from slavery to sin and our adoption as sons and daughters of God, our heavenly Father. Do you recognize your identity as a child of God and a citizen of heaven?
John was the greatest of the prophets, yet he lived as a humble and faithful servant of God. He pointed others to Jesus, Messiah and Savior of the world. Do you point others to Christ by your witness and example?
Our mission as brothers and sisters of Christ and members of his Church is to reflect Christ’s Light to others, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun. There are too many people who live in darkness and poverty, and who lack real freedom. There are others who are deafened and blinded by the cheap attractions of the world. Also, many feel lonely, unwanted, rejected, and marginalized. All these people are waiting for us to reflect the Light of Christ and to turn their lives into experiences of joy, wholeness and integrity. The joy of Jesus, the joy of Christmas can only be ours to the extent that we work with Jesus to bring joy into the lives of others. It means seeking out – not waiting for – daily occurrences where you can say I helped bring the joy of Christ to another today. It’s not a weekly, monthly or annual responsibility. It’s not passive. Its active.
What will you do today? What will you do tomorrow?
Let us remember that Christmas is not complete unless we show real generosity to those who have nothing to give us in return.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, make me a herald of your word of truth and grace. Help me to be a faithful witness of the joy of the gospel and to point others to you as John did through his testimony.”
John the Baptist reminds us that there is no bigger problem than our personal sins and so there is no bigger savior than Jesus. If you are a believer the enemy wants to block your relationship with Christ and preoccupy you with other saviors. Remember this, nothing can supersede our dependence on Christ. See every challenge that you face as an opportunity to get to know Jesus Christ more intimately than you have ever known him before. And you will overcome everything that the world will throw at you.