Sunday 14 December 2014

Bible Book:

“This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’” (vv. 19-22)

John 1:6-8, 19-28 Sunday 14 December 2014

Psalm: Psalm 126


One of the age-old problems when people turn up with anunexpected message is that, instead of paying attention to what'sbeing said, those who hear frequently ask: "Who do you think youare?"

Dr Who has a neat trick. His ID card is a bit of psychic paper,which means you see what your mind tells you to see. It is alwayspossible, as happened on a recent episode, that you have such a"highly unimaginative mind", you spot it's actually blank!

When John the Baptist turned up, using words from Jewishprophets to tell them the Messiah was coming, the religious leaderssent people to spy on him. Inevitably, they wanted to know "who areyou?".

John assured them he was not the Messiah; not Elijah reborn - afondly-held Jewish belief; not a new Moses to lead the people. Infact, John said, I'm just a voice, but a voice you need to listento.

John the Baptist was in the middle of a campaign gettingeverything straightened out for Jesus to begin his ministry onearth. He was preaching, baptizing and warning people that, in thewords of a past US President: "You ain't seen nothing yet."

But, as the writer of the Gospel tells us, it was also theopening shots in a battle that goes all the way to the cross andbeyond. John the writer - a different John - says that theBaptist's interrogators come from "the Jews".

The writer doesn't mean they represent the whole nation. He usesthe phrase to talk about the Pharisees and other religious rulers,who had most to lose from a maverick preacher whose words andactions could rile the occupying Roman forces. There was an uneasypeace and the Jewish religious leaders were only allowed theirposition at the whim of Rome.

Too much unrest and it could be taken away.

If a new, and as yet unidentified, somebody was already in theirmidst but unrecognised, they could make life veryuncomfortable.

To Ponder

  • How comfortable are we when people want to discuss issues offaith with us? Why do you think that might be?
  • What ways can we make it easier for people to recognise Godpresent among us?


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