REFLECTIONS ON JOHN 1:29-34 - JEN MATIAS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH, OKLAHOMA CITY
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one I meant when I said, ‘A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but the reason I came baptizing with water was that he might be revealed to Israel.” Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on him. And I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”
What strikes me about this passage is the character of John the Baptist. He had gained quite a following in Israel, preaching and baptising, and yet though he found himself the center of attention, the work he was doing was not self-serving. He clarifies that the whole “reason [he] came baptizing with water was that (Christ) might be revealed to Israel.” John was a humble advocate. In the moment that he realized Christ was there, he used whatever influence he had over the people around him to direct their gaze and attention to Christ. John was attuned to the voice of God. He recognized the Spirit resting on Christ as peacefully and poignantly as a dove.
I don’t know about you, but most days I spend much of my time distracted and attuned to many things at once, most of which don’t really even matter. I crave the thrill of affirmation and recognition, and John’s humility and his attunement to the still, quiet voice speaks to me.
Maybe right now we can pause. Set everything down. Take a breath and listen to the stillness. In what ways might the love of Christ be revealed to you and through you today?...
Lord, help us to recognize your Spirit speaking and working around us. Nurture us as we grow in our own faithfulness to you. Give us the strength so set aside the things that would distract us from being your love in this world, and fill us with your gentle Spirit of peace. Amen.
~Submitted by Jen Matias, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
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