“The Baptizer’s Witness to Mystery”

John 1:6-9,15-28  December 11, 2005  Play video

Know Who You Are (Not)

•    societal pressure to be self-focussed consumer
•    John the Baptizer indifferent to social customs: free to prophesy (Mt 14:3ff)
•    inquisition committee demanded to know who John was
•    making straight way for Lord; one who comes after (De 18:15; Jn 1:15,23,27)
•    Christian identity results from crucifying self with Christ (Gal 2:20; Mk 8:34f; Rom 6:8,11; Col 3:3)

Primarily a Witness

•    John a witness to testify (1:7f,15,19)
•    Christian experience a wonder to unpack the rest of our lives (Rom 16:25; Col 1:26f)
•    man-made religion puts us in control; explainable regulations
•    God’s mystery beyond words: instead parables, paradoxes, e.g. Word became flesh (1:14f; 18; Ex 33:20; Jn 14:7; Col 1:15)
•    pointing out to people One they didn’t recognize (Jn 1:10f)

Unpack Christ’s Greatness and Grace

•    Jesus has surpassed John; unworthy to untie sandals (1:15; Lk 1:41,44; Jn 1:27; Mt 11:11)
•    John accepts what’s given, becoming less as Jesus more popular (3:27)
•    Jesus came full of grace and truth: unattainable standard, but guilt attributed (1:14,17,29)
•    have all received grace upon grace (1:16)
•    eternal reprieve greater grace than given earthly hostages (2Cor 5:21)

Leave ‘em Wondering

•    goal to become God’s glorious one-of-a-kind child (Rom 8:29)
•    John’s role unique: forerunner of Messiah, with curious gesture of baptism (Mt 17:12)
•    baptism picture of repentance; to reveal Jesus to Israel; as contrast to Messiah’s baptism in Holy Spirit and fire (1:31; Mt 3:11f)

Cutting-edge Witness

•    great need for ministry to seniors: 23% of pop. by 2041
•    simple tasks but year-round commitment, living witness
•    couple plays music to minister: changed attitudes
•    quilts / presentations reveal journey of healing from abuse
•    art interprets mystery of Jesus as ‘The Way Home’

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