John 1:6-8, 19-28
A man named John was sent from God. He came for testimony, to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. 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 Christ.” So they asked him, “Who 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 Christ 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.
There was a man named John sent from God, who came to testify to the light that is Christ.
There is also a man named Bob sent from God, who is called to testify to the light that is Christ. There is also a man named Jim, and a woman named Sandie, and another named Margaret, and another named Tom, and another, … and another, … We who are baptized are, like John, called to testify to the light that is Christ, so that all might believe through us.
Like John, our own lives should point to Christ. Our own lives should give such testimony to the truth and the joy that is the life in Christ, that other will be drawn to Christ. John the Baptist didn’t come for his own sake, but for the sake of others. He didn’t come to make a point of himself, so that others would follow him. He came to point to Christ, so that all might follow Christ. When Jesus showed up on the banks of the Jordan, John pointed and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” Jesus was the reason John lived his life the way he did. Jesus was the reason for John’s mission of baptizing those who acknowledged their sins – in order to prepare them for following Christ.
This is precisely what each of us who are baptized are called to do: to live lives that don’t make sense except for Jesus; to live lives that point to Christ in hopes that all might follow Him. Flannery O’Connor once said, paraphrasing the Gospel According to John, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you odd.” John the Baptist certainly was odd, living in the desert, wearing camel hair clothing and eating locusts. Even more odd was his practice of baptizing people who acknowledged their sins. The oddity of his life attracted the attention of others. When it did, John pointed them to Jesus. Just so, our own lives ought to be odd enough in context of the culture of our times that we attract the attention of others. When we do, we are to point them to Jesus. Jesus is not simply the reason for the season. Jesus is the reason for the lives that we live.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.