Read John 1:19-28

from Rev. Richard Howard, Morgantown

In today’s lesson we encounter John the Baptist (or “Baptizer”), a man we think we know very well. In the Synoptic Gospels, he is spoken of by Jesus in Matthew and Mark, and by an angel in Luke as the new Elijah. Here, however, we find John himself denying that identity, then go in to claim a title that is more important to each individual Christian: “Witness.”   As Jesus is referred to as the “first born of the dead,” perhaps John should be celebrated as the “first witness” or “first testifier.” Why is John’s role in this world as defined in this fourth gospel so key for us today? Because he goes out and does what we are called to do: to go out and witness, or testify to who and what Jesus is for us and for the world: Savior.

This Advent season has been closed by the fulfillment of its promise: the arrival of Jesus. Today, in this passage, John sets the foundational standard on which we are to build our faith: proclamation that Jesus is Lord!

Gracious God, grant us strength and courage to boldly testify to the new life that is found in Jesus, that all who hear our testimony will rejoice and embrace your salvation.

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