Sermon Summary, 12/10/17, “Pointing to a Savior” (Mk 1:1-8)
I’ve always wondered about this guy, John the Baptist, and why he got so much press? I mean, Jesus did get top billing, but by verse 2, John is pushing himself onto the stage, “See, I am sending my messenger before you.” I’ve always wondered why this guy was thrust right into the middle of the Christmas Story.
John the Baptist was a “Rock Star.” Israel had heard no prophets in hundreds of years. Then John “appeared.” You would have thought that a Rock Star would pick the biggest venues available, maybe the Coliseum, or someplace like that. He picked the wilderness and people flocked to see him.
Looking at the Scripture from the top, “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” (Mk 1:1) I’ve always thought the introduction to Mark was weak. After all, Matthew has the genealogy, the angel appearing to Joseph, King Herod, the flight to Egypt. Luke has the Christmas story we so like. John has soaring poetry. Mark, not so much.
But looking at it now, it’s huge. “In the beginning.” Anyone knowing of the Creator God would return to the Creation narrative. “Good news, glad tidings, clarion call. Something life-changing is coming. Jesus Messiah, Christ, anointed one. Who was anointed? Prophets who speak for God, Priests who bridge us to God, Kings who act for God. Jesus, who spoke, bridged, acted and more; he died for you. Good news. Son of God.
We then find who John is, the one who points to Christ. Elijah whom Malachi prophesied would proceed the Messiah and prepare a way for him. Elijah on the hearts of everyone also just appeared (1 Kings 17). Jesus would later tell us that John was Elijah who was to come. A Rock Star, yes, but one who would set aside his notoriety to point to Jesus and then fade away. “The Lamp of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) A humble servant.
We recognize through John that humility is a Christian virtue. And we see that role models, Elijah and Jesus, are important. We are role models for good or for bad whether we like it or not, for our families, in our workplaces and where we socialize.
Here’s our question, “Do our lives point to Jesus?” Will our actions and the charities we select to support this Advent reflect the virtues of Christ. Will we pray for those with whom we disagree? How will we prepare for Christ? Will we point to him? May it be so with all of us.