Fourth Wednesday of Advent: John the Baptist
“John answered them all, 'I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of - whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’”
If Christmas has come, skip to our final video on the Nativity. If Christmas hasn't come yet, on this fourth Wednesday of Advent, we can remember John the Baptist. The ornament for today should represent John the Baptist, which is a shell.
The story of John the Baptist is a significant narrative in the Bible. John was a prophet who played a crucial role in preparing the way for the ministry of Jesus Christ. He was born to elderly parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who had been unable to conceive a child. The angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and foretold the birth of John, instructing that he should be named John and would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth.
John grew up in the wilderness and lived a simple and ascetic life. He preached a message of repentance, urging people to turn away from their sins and prepare for the coming of the Messiah. Many people were drawn to John's powerful message, and he baptized them in the Jordan River as a symbol of their repentance.
John gained attention and followers, but he always emphasized that he was not the Messiah. He declared that one greater than him would come, whose sandals he was unworthy to untie. Eventually, Jesus came to John to be baptized, and as Jesus emerged from the water, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove, and a voice from heaven declared Jesus as God's beloved Son.
John continued his ministry, fearlessly speaking out against injustice and immorality, even criticizing Herod Antipas, the ruler at that time. This led to his arrest and eventual execution.
The story of John the Baptist teaches us several lessons. Firstly, it underscores the importance of repentance and preparing our hearts for the coming of Christ. John's message reminds us to examine our lives, turn away from sin, and seek a relationship with God. Secondly, John's humility and selflessness serve as an example for us. Despite his popularity, he always pointed others towards Jesus and recognized his own unworthiness compared to Him. Lastly, John's faithfulness in proclaiming God's truth, even in the face of opposition, encourages us to stand firm in our convictions and speak out for righteousness.
The story of John the Baptist can be found in various passages in the New Testament such as:
- Luke 1:5-25: The announcement of John's birth to Zechariah and Elizabeth
- Luke 1:26-38: The Annunciation, which also mentions John's future role
- Luke 3:1-20: John's ministry of repentance and baptism
- Matthew 3:13-17: Jesus' baptism by John and the descent of the Holy Spirit
- Matthew 11:2-19: John's questioning of Jesus and Jesus' affirmation of John's role as a prophet
- Mark 6:14-29: The story of John's arrest and execution by Herod Antipas
These passages provide more detailed accounts of John's life and ministry and can offer deeper insights into the lessons we can learn from his story.