Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Week Four of Advent
Today's Reading: John 1:19-28
Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 40:1-17; Revelation 7:1-17
John answered them, saying, "I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know. "It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose." (John 1:26-27)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. As Christmas approaches, the world reaches a near fever-pitch of commercialism: stores trying to get every last customer in for the last big sale, lights and trees and decorations and Santa and reindeer and secular Christmas songs. It's really overdone and gets old quickly. But in all of that, there's very little Jesus. The world rushes toward Christmas without any idea of the Who behind Christmas. There comes One whom they do not know.
Many people cry out “Keep Christ in Christmas”, but even that can become an overused slogan. What does it even mean? The truth is, few people, even many Christians, rejoice that Christ was born for this reason: to grow up and die. John the Baptist isn't exercising some super-humility when he says that he is not even worthy to untie Jesus' sandal. He's pointing out that the Lamb of God is far above us by being so far below us. Jesus came to be not the greatest, but the least. Not the best but the worst. Not the holiest, but the most sinful. Even though He was all of those good things, He took on all of those bad things for your sake. For your salvation.
The preaching of John the Baptist is that the One who comes after him— Jesus— is the Savior. Jesus is the One who is going to save the world by His death and resurrection. He is the One who will send the Holy Spirit, baptize sinners, absolve them and give them His Body and Blood to eat and drink. He is the Lamb of God who was before all and has saved us all.