Summary: Third Sunday in Advent, year B.
John 1: 6 – 8; 19 – 28 / One Whom You Do Not Know
Intro: I once conducted a training session in Indiana where I told the audience that I was from Fayette City, a town of less than a thousand people in PA that no one knew. A lady raised her hand and said, “I know that place. I grew up there.” I was amazed. She had gone to school with my mother and my aunt. Recently, I was speaking to someone telling them I had come here from Texas. Immediately, they asked, “Do you know “so-n-so” they are from Texas too?” In case you didn’t know it, Texas is a really big place and the likelihood of knowing someone else from there is remote. Often, we find ourselves in situations with people we do not know.
I. Such was the case in this passage. VS. 19 - 22
A. The priests and Levites were sent by the Jews from Jerusalem to find out just who the wilderness wacko really was.
B. Not the Messiah. Not Elijah. Not a prophet. Can’t you sense their frustration with John? What’s going on here?
C. Have you ever had someone be so frustrated with you that they ask, “Who gave you the authority to do what you are doing? Just who do you think you are?”
II. VS. 24 – 25 Why are you baptizing if you aren’t the Messiah, Elijah nor a prophet? By what authority?
A. John’s answer – VS. 23 “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.” By authority of the words of the great prophet, Isaiah.
B. VS. 26 – “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know.” You think this is something; just wait until Jesus gets started!
C. John was not the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor a prophet. He was a witness.
III. VS. 6 – 8 John was not the light; but came to testify to the light . .
A. It is a still and darkened world in which we live. People are feeling anxiety about the future. So many have been affected by the downturn in the economy and fell powerless to do anything about it. Others are concerned about their pensions. Missions have been laid off while those who continue to work find their jobs increasingly stressful not to mention the threat of terrorism. It is indeed a darkened world in which we live.
B. For many people Christmas can be like a car accident. Christmas can be a disaster. Instead of a time of joy, it becomes a time of frustration and depression. Instead of experiencing laughter, they experience crying, fighting and pain. Why?
C. It’s because many people aren’t looking the right way. Many are distracted from what Christmas and Christianity are all about. John’s purpose and ours is to be a witness. John’s purpose was to testify. He stood in the dark, wilderness of his world and pointed people toward the Light of the World, Christ Jesus. That is our job as well. We are to be witnesses in the wilderness of our dark world.
Conclu: What does it mean to be a witness? Does it mean that from now until Christmas your job is to go door to door, every night, testifying concerning the light? How does someone like you and me become a witness for Christ in our world today? 2 things:
1) By living an openly Christian lifestyle where you are always joyful, a person of prayer who is thankful in every circumstance. You are honest, sincere, loving, generous and helpful.
2) Being willing to share your faith with others when there is an opportunity. By telling what helps you. By focusing on the most precious gift anyone could receive at Christmas, Christ Jesus.