The gospel lesson for Advent 3B from John 1 shows us another side of John the Baptist. Here, John is a witness who points to Jesus the Light. The church is called to point people to Jesus. But do we have to “wow” them in order to do that? And if we think we have to “wow” the people we’re trying to reach, to whom are we really pointing?
John the Witness
A Sermon on John 1:6-8, 19-34, 3:22-30, with Allusions to Isaiah 40:1-11
John the Baptist attracted attention. Matthew, Mark and Luke describe John’s distinctive appearance, unusual diet, and fiery preaching style, and no doubt that was part of what drew attention. People came from miles around and lined up to see him and be baptized. But John also had a following and disciples of his own. He didn’t just have spectators. If John were in ministry today, he could have a successful organization all his own. It might even have an interesting name, such as Wild Honey Ministries. People might line up to buy John’s books and DVDs as well as to be baptized by him. He would get lots of hits on his website. John the Baptist attracted attention.
The Gospel of John reports that the religious authorities took note of this and sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to investigate. They wanted to know more. Who was John? What was this all about?
John was quick to say in a number of ways, “This is not about me!” He immediately and decisively pointed the questioners’ attention elsewhere—namely, to Jesus. “It’s all about him,” John declared.