11 December 2011

John 1:6-8, 19-28 (Looking for light in the dark)

"He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him." (v. 7)


The original text of John's Gospel, and the more ancient text that he quotes from Isaiah in this passage, don't use punctuation, but punctuation matters as fans of the Lynn Truss' book, Eats Shoots and Leaves, will attest. John preaches in the wilderness because of where he puts the comma (verse 23)! For him the wilderness is the place for preaching, far away from the everyday, the home, the work place and the town. If you put that comma, however, after 'crying out', the preacher may preach where they wish. But it's in the barren places, the wild places, the wilderness where you need to make a straight path; a small point perhaps, but one that resonates with the gospel. For the Messiah comes into our everyday lives. The gospel is heard where we are, not where we are not; glory and hope spoken into the mundane and ordinary of the every day. It is a message though that is precisely about the darker and more barren places; it is light for darkness, healing for sickness, grace for sorrow, forgiveness for sin. It is in the wilderness we are to prepare a way for God, that God's glory may be revealed.

To Ponder

Where is a wilderness (untamed, barren, trackless) in your life? And what would make a straight way?

How can we speak of God in the everyday?

A challenge:
"Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:16)

Bible notes author

The Revd Dr Mark Wakelin

Born in Africa to missionary parents, Mark Wakelin is a Methodist minister, He was the President of the Methodist Conference 2012/2013, and before that worked for the Connexional Team, as the secretary for internal relationships. He is now the minster at Epsom Methodist Chuch.