Advent Reflections 2023: Day 17

John 1:6-8, 19-28

John the Baptist is introduced early in the Gospel of John because he is the herald or forerunner of Jesus’ coming. ‘He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light’ (verse 8). John is one of my favourite New Testament characters as he is very forthright in what he says. He lives rough, gets involved in politics and is finally executed for what he says about Herod.

In this passage we find various religious officials from Jerusalem coming out to cross-question him about what he is teaching and if it fits in with Judaism. They ask him who he is and he responds in the words of Isaiah, ‘I am the voice of one calling. in the wilderness, make straight the way for the Lord.’ This answer connects with their Jewish background without making any claims to be a prophet or any other ‘official’ preacher or teacher.

The representatives of the Chief priest then ask him what right has he got to baptise others? John seems to avoid a direct answer by saying that he is unworthy to even to tie the sandals of the one who comes after. This extract begins the events that lead ultimately to a stable and a very special birth.

Phil Davis

Lord, the season of Christmas is now rushing towards us but we have become pre-occupied with presents, decorations, and arrangements so it becomes easy to forget to look forward the real light that is coming into the world. Help us to concentrate on the real meaning of Christmas.