Reflections: June 24, 2021
The Nativity of St. John the Baptist
By Jeffrey Horn
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways. (Luke 1:76)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The Church has been celebrating the incarnation of Christ since the Gospel was first proclaimed (Genesis 3:15). After Adam and Eve sinned, God called them out of their hiding place of fear and shame. He promised to send a Messiah to rescue them from sin and death. The Seed of the woman would crush the serpent's head.
The promise of the Messiah is woven throughout the Old Testament, through the words of Moses and the prophets, and through the sacrifices and feasts the Jews were commanded to observe. Believers looked with hope and anticipation to the time when God would send the Christ.
And ever since Jesus won His victory on the Cross, the Church has continued to celebrate the mystery of the incarnation. All year long we find events that remind us that the Son of God became man. From the Annunciation, Visitation and Birth of John, to Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, and the Presentation, Christ our incarnate Lord is proclaimed.
The mystery of the incarnation is so wonderful that we think about it all the time, just as our brothers and sisters did in the Old Testament. Today, we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist, and we rejoice that his entire life was spent pointing to the incarnate Lord.
When the angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus the Messiah, he told her that her aged cousin Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy. Mary went immediately to see her.
At the sound of her greeting, John the Baptist, yet in the womb, leapt for joy because his Messiah, Jesus, was present in Mary's womb (Luke 1:41-45). John believed in Jesus even before he was born, and proclaimed Him as Messiah even before he could speak.
He did this all his life. Through his preaching and baptizing he called people to repent and be ready for Jesus. He still speaks that message to us today. On his birthday, we hear his joyful call to repent and believe in Christ, the incarnate Son of God. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
-Rev. Jeffrey Horn is the pastor of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA.
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