Scripture: Lectionary 192: Isaiah 56:1-3,6-8. Psalm 67:2-3, 5,7. John 5:33-36
John the Baptist continues to be the person leading us through this third week of Advent. We turn today to the Fourth Gospel which presents John as a lamp set aflame and burning, and as a witness (the word in Greek is the same for a martyr/witness. John always is pointing to Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Servant of God (talya in Hebrew means both lamb and servant). This is his unique role in the Fourth Gospel.
Already in the great overture of John’s Gospel the Baptist is side by side with the Word of God, Jesus. We therefore are led to turn to that Prologue to see the overall theme of who John is in relationship to Jesus, the Word of God become flesh. (John 1:14).
The parts where John is present in this text are written in prose while the rest of the Prologue that speaks of Jesus is in poetic thought and images. We first read about John the Baptist in verses 6-8 of chapter one which begins with the panoramic theological look at the whole Gospel through the Prologue (John 1:1-18).
A man came, sent by God. His name was John. He came as a witness to the light (Jesus) so that everyone might believe through him. He was not the light, he was to bear witness to the light.
Then in verse fifteen the Evangelist tells us:
John witnesses to him. He proclaims: “This is the one of whom I said: he comes after me has passed ahead of me because he existed before me.
We cans witness to the Word made flesh in the same spirit as John the Baptist. He models for us the way to Jesus and continually points to the one whose sandals he is not worthy to loose. John’s prose is ours; Jesus’ poetry is what surrounds our own prayer of prose and leads us to contemplate and sing the poetry. Advent moves on with more and more of God’s revelatory love and we are led to more hope and love as we approach the moment of the Incarnation, that is, the moment the Word becomes Jesus in the flesh. Amen.