Monday, December 5, 2016

Pointing to Jesus; John 1:6-28

The Second Sunday of Advent is often designated as Prophet Sunday. We have heard from 3 prophets this morning—Hosea, Isaiah, and John the Baptist. John was the final prophet to announce Jesus’s coming and to identify Him as the promised Messiah and fulfiller of all other prophecies. Jesus said that there is no one like John the Baptist and that John had the spirit of Elijah, and John himself is very humble, though he is confident in his role. He takes his job to point to Jesus and to prepare people to receive Jesus very seriously. John’s warning is urgent. John’s life & words are still important for us today. First, have we heeded the call to repentance? We confessed our sins corporately this morning, hopefully in response to God’s invitation as heard through other prophetic voices and in the prompting conviction of the Holy Spirit. But it can be easy to say a written prayer in church and go through the motion. So have you really surrendered your life to Jesus Christ? John says that if we have, our lives will bear fruit worthy of repentance. We should live differently if we belong to Jesus. We are about to partake of the Lord’s Supper. If we haven’t opened our hearts to Jesus, the sacrament is not merely meaningless, but we eat and drink judgement upon ourselves by taking unworthily if we have not placed our trust in Jesus. Second, John wanted people to be prepared to receive Jesus. He wasn’t preaching a message of repentance because he was angry and wanted to make people feel unloved. He preached repentance because he was concerned for people’s lives. He did not want them to miss out on experiencing the joys of the kingdom that Messiah was bringing. He wanted them to be ready for Jesus’s coming. We know Jesus is coming back and that His return is soon. Do we love people enough to urge them to repentance? Do we love people enough to want them to surrender their lives to Jesus so they can experience the joys of His presence and His kingdom? Do we really believe the time is short—that next year, next month, next week might be too late? Do we have an urgency to share the good news of Jesus? And finally, do we take our role as Christ’s ambassadors seriously? Do we live humbly, pointing to Jesus, or are we trying to make a name for ourselves, to draw attention to ourselves and our accomplishments? Do we strive to glorify Christ with all of our lives, with each action and choice so that others are drawn to Him?


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