Today we have another devotional contribution by Taryn Flake. Enjoy!
Daily Scripture Reading: John 1:6-8, 15
Many times, I think many of us are aware of who John the Baptist is, but we skim over his part because we want to get to the part about Jesus. Arguably, there is quite a lot of gospel text describing John the Baptist’s birth, ministry, baptism of Jesus, and death. John the Baptist, in some gospels, seems unsure about who Jesus is (Matthew 11:2-3), but in others, declares with confidence who he is and who Jesus is (John 1:29-34). So let’s examine what is known in the Bible about John the Baptist and how that relates to this Advent season.
John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for the Lord. Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:2-3, Luke 3:4-6 all echo these words from Isaiah 40:3-5, which is also summarized in John 1:6-8. John the Baptist was to serve as a witness to the Lord, to prepare the way for Jesus. Luke 1:17 the angel tells Zechariah that John the Baptist will prepare the way for the Lord, even before John has been conceived. John the Baptist’s entire job was to “warm up the crowd” for Jesus. If you have ever been to a concert, the opening act is the one who gets the crowd amped up for the main attraction. Scholars speculate that John was in ministry between 3-30 months before Jesus began his ministry. So John is hanging out in the desert for many months in order to prepare the people of the time for the coming of Jesus’ ministry and witnessing to them as a prophet.
John’s witness for Jesus reminds us that we are to be witnesses for Jesus too. We don’t have to hang out in the desert wearing camel hair and eating honey to serve as a witness. When others see how we live our lives, this serves as a witness of God’s love for us. We are able to show our integrity of being the same person on Sunday morning in church that others see throughout the week. Just as Jesus reminds us to be the light of the world (Matthew 5:14-16), we can be the light that shines in the darkness during this dark, cold, Christmas season.
Ironically, tonight is the longest night of the entire year, the winter solstice. The Christmas lights on the Christmas tree are supposed to symbolize the light of Christ in our lives. Let us let our Christmas lights shine brightly tonight. But in what other tangible ways can you shine Christ’s light to others in your life? Maybe that cashier needs a smile today. Maybe someone needs to hear a Christmas hymn. Maybe your neighbor, family member, or friend needs a phone call or a visit today. This is my challenge for you today. Let us be witnesses for Christ, just as John the Baptist was a witness for Christ.
In what tangible way will you shine Christ’s light to another person today?
How is your life a witness of God’s love for you?
Which of the additional scripture passages referenced will you read today?
Dear Lord, allow us to be a beacon of hope in the darkness, just as John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus. Show us how we can allow our light to shine into the lives of others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
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