Scripture

John 1:19-26

19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.”

21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?”

He said, “I am not.”

“Are you the Prophet?”

He answered, “No.”

22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”

23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’”

24 Now the Pharisees who had been sent 25 questioned him, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”

26 “I baptize with water,” John replied, “but among you stands one you do not know.

Reflection

In religious art, wherever John the Baptist and Jesus appear in the same picture, you can almost guarantee that John the Baptist will be portrayed with his finger extended, pointing at Jesus. That’s who John was. He was a witness, always pointing to Jesus. John was very clear about who he was and who he was not. “I am not the Messiah. … I am not Elijah. … I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord.”

 

John’s job description, as “one who points to Jesus”, is also our job description as Christians. We are called to be witnesses to Christ, testifying to the world how God has come to us in the flesh to bring peace, and hope and life. As Christians, we are to be on the lookout for any sign or evidence pointing to how God in Christ is present in the world. Christmas is an easy time to do this. We are surrounded by images of Christ, both literally and figuratively.

 

But we are also to point to Christ by how we operate in the world. We should be functioning in such a manner that our actions point to God. This means living with integrity, justice, compassion and humility. Again, the Christmas season seems to offer extra opportunities for compassionate activities. So look around. Find Christ at work in the world, or in the images around you. Or become a “pointer” yourself. 

Prayer

Holy One, you call me to be better. You ask me to live in such a way that points to you. Forgive me for failing. Give me guidance and courage to be a light in the world. Show me those who need your mercy, compassion and justice, then lead in ways to serve them. Thank you for the gift of Jesus. I love you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.