Reflections: Nativity of St. John the Baptist

June 24, 2024

Today’s Reading: Luke 1:57-80

Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 30:1-9, 18-33; John 20:19-31

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins” (Luke 1:76-77)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. John was special. I mean, being the cousin of the Messiah is pretty distinguishing. It was more than that, though. He was the one who his father Zechariah sang, “will go before the Lord to prepare His ways.” (v. 76) We can certainly learn a lot from John the Baptist. Maybe not fashion, and I don’t recommend switching to a wild honey and locust diet. However, he was the one who came crying out in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. (Luke 3:3) 

We learn what it means to faithfully witness against sinful people like the religious leaders of John’s day and even against political leaders like King Herod. What John did best was point people to the one who would come after him. John is the opener for Jesus. We could say this about all the prophets of old, really. They are preparing the people of God for the one who will save them from their sins. Who will rescue them from their enemies.

The disappointment for the people of John’s day and in our own day is that this is not a guarantee of prosperity or political freedom in this life. John is sent to preach repentance to point people to their need for a savior. Jesus, our Savior, comes to rescue you from your enemies of sin, death, and the devil. While we sojourn here in our earthly lives, we will suffer much for the sake of the one John paved the way for.

We suffer knowing that we have a much greater reward than earthly treasures. We pray that God would give us all that we need to support this body and life and that, if the time comes, we are faithful witnesses of our Savior. We will struggle against sin and the enemies of this world, but we will not be overcome. You can be certain as John was that nothing in this life can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. John’s birth foretells the Messiah’s birth, His baptism, and the beginning of His earthly ministry. John, as the prophet Isaiah and Micah foretold, points you to Jesus, who would, from the start, be on His way to fulfilling God’s plan of salvation to his people for the forgiveness of their sins. 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 our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

– Vicar Justin Chester, Vicar at Shepherd of the City, Fort Wayne, IN

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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