Ninth Day of Christmas   8 comments

Above:  River Jordan Postcard

The Humility of John the Baptist

JANUARY 2, 2024


1 John 2:22-29 (New Jerusalem Bible):

Who is the liar,

if not one who claims that Jesus is not the Christ?

This is the Antichrist,

who denies both the Father and the Son.

Whoever denies the Son cannot have the Father either;

whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father, too.

Let what you heard in the beginning remain in you;

as long as what you heard in the beginning remains in you,

you will remain in the Son

and in the Father.

And the promise he made you himself

is eternal life.

So much have I written to you

about those who are trying to lead you astray.

But as for you, the anointing you received from him

remains in you,

and you do not need anyone to teach you;

since the anointing he gave you teaches you everything,

and since it is true, not false,

remain in him just as he has taught you.

Therefore remain in him now, children,

so that when he appears we may be fearless,

and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

If you know that he is upright

you must recognize that everyone whose life is upright

is a child of his.

Psalm 98:1-4 (New Jerusalem Bible):

Sing a new song to Yahweh,

for he has performed wonders,

his saving power is in his right hand and his holy arm.

Yahweh has made known his saving power,

revealed his saving justice for the nations to see,

mindful of his faithful love and his constancy to the House of Israel.

The whole wide world has seen

the saving power of our God.

Acclaim Yahweh, all the earth,

burst into shouts of joy!

John 1:19-28 (New Jerusalem Bible):

This was the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him,

Who are you?

He declared, he did not deny, but declared,

I am not the Christ.

So they asked him,

Then are you Elijah?

He replied,

I am not.

They asked him,

Are you the Prophet?

He answered,


So they said to him,

Who are you? We must take back the answer to those who sent us.  What have you to say about yourself?”

So he said,

I am, as Isaiah prophesied:

“A voice of one that cries in the desert;

Prepare a way for the Lord.

Make his paths straight!”

Now those who had been sent were Pharisees, and they put this question to him,

Why are you baptizing if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the Prophet?

John answered them,

I baptize with water; but standing among you–unknown to you–is the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandal.

This happened at Bethany, where John was baptizing.

The Collect:

O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


John the Baptist was a great prophet and servant of God.  Jesus, his cousin, said so.  Certainly, John’s lifestyle and fiery rhetoric attracted much attention.  I suspect that he could have given any answer to the questions in the reading from the Fourth Gospel and some people would have believed him.  John the Baptist could have built himself up, and those who listened to him would not have known that he would have been lying.

Yet John the Baptist told the truth, which was that he was the forerunner of the Messiah.  John pointed to another, Jesus.  So should we.  John lived according to humility, or knowing who he was in relation to God.  So should we.


Written on June 7, 2010


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