John answered them all, saying, “I am baptizing you with water, but one mightier than I is coming. I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals. He will baptize you with the holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3:16 NABRE
John is baptizing in the River Jordan and crowds come to him. He is not performing the Jewish ritual purification but a baptism of repentance. John is the forerunner to the Messiah, highlighting change for those listening. He speaks filled with the Holy Spirit and is asked questions about the kind of changes required. He tells the people to produce good fruit, otherwise their fruit will be thrown away. They ask John what to do and he speaks of charity and generosity; having two tunics give one to someone with no tunic, tax collectors should only collect the prescribed amount, soldiers should not extort or falsely accuse. AS John’s message is unusual and challenging the people want to know if John is the Messiah. John says I baptize with water, the Messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John declares he is not worthy to loosen the thongs of the Messiah. The touching and washing of feet is the work of slaves, the most unnoticed people in the community and John thinks he is not even as good as a slave. Jesus will later say John is greater than anyone born of woman (see Matthew 11:11.) Through John’s encouragement Jesus becomes the figure drawing crowds and John fades away until beheaded by Herod the king.
John makes Jesus’ introductions, he begins to introduce change to the people, it is not ritual purity and the law that is important but generosity and fairness. Jesus will take it further and say mercy is desired, and we all should think of others. Like John we are all called to support Jesus’ mission and message.
Who do you point to as greater than you? How do you view the least of the kingdom of God?John makes Jesus' introductions, he begins to introduce change to the people, it is not ritual purity and the law that is important but generosity and fairness. Like John we are all called to support Jesus' mission and message. Click To Tweet
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