January 04, 2005

The Testimony of John the Baptist

19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"
20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, "I am not the Messiah."
21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" He answered, "No."
22 Then they said to him, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"
23 He said, "I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, 'Make straight the way of the Lord,'" as the prophet Isaiah said.
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
25 They asked him, "Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"
26 John answered them, "I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know,
27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal."
28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
30 This is he of whom I said, 'After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'
31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel."
32 And John testified, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.
33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God."

4 Comments:

At 10:47 p.m., Blogger Meredith said...

Main Point: John, while baptizing Jews, (a symbolic act of repentance, of washing away of sins) stated that One would come who would truly forgive their sins, something only the son of God could do. In proclaiming this, John was showing great humility, also evidenced when he said that he was not even worthy to be Christ's slave, to provide the humble task of unfastening his sandals.

New Light: the humility of John

Implications: In Luke (7:28), Jesus said that John was the greatest of all prophets. If John felt humbled by Christ, our pride and self importance best be humbled as well. Like getting our ego out of the way, and seeing and projecting the light of Christ with our hearts.

Problems: This is not so much a problem as a comment: Baptism is not important to me, in part because I do not focus on sin, or the need for repentence. I believe that people are fundamentally very good.

 
At 5:04 a.m., Blogger david said...

Yes, John the Baptist isn't usually thought of as a humble kinda guy is he?

And the Baptist seems to be saying here that Jesus' baptism will replace water baptism/baptism for repentence. But the Christian faith continued the practice.

 
At 4:26 p.m., Blogger Larry said...

The true baptism is that of the Holy Spirit --- "and with fire?" Since both of these can only be seen as metaphors in this connection, it makes baptism a fruitful subject for Quaker meditation.

Incidentally there's a large denomination (and movement) who have taken the baptism of the Holy Spirit with dead seriousness: Pentecostals at the hospital (I'm repeating myself, I'm afraid) are noteworthy as people with an indomitable positive spirit (like Meredith; you'd qualify, my dear). Those in the movement from other denominations are more likely to call themselves charismatics (having received the 'gift' from the "Baptizer"). Personally I think we're all baptized, worthy of the kiss of peace.

 
At 10:17 a.m., Blogger Marjorie said...

Yeah, baptism is another one of those sacraments where I feel I'm just going through the motions. I love the words and ceremony, I guess its a meaningful symbol. I was baptized, my children were baptized, I don't think its a requirement to salvation. I cannot imagine God rejecting anyone because they didn't get sprinkled with water.

 

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