Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
“The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete” (V.29)
“The Apostles Lent” ends tomorrow and it is one of the oldest feasts in the church. It was a feast of thanks giving to God for the gifts of the Holy Spirit that the apostles received. The Holy Spirit empowered them for another ministry, which was to preach gospel to the world. As a continuation of the apostolic ministry, the church has a responsibility to share the Good News to all people. This feast reminds us our role as a disciple with a witnessing life. Today's passage explains Jesus' testimony about his forerunner John the Baptist. The understanding of the role and importance of John the Baptist is helpful to know a model disciple and a disciplined life.
His Austere Life: John appeared in the wilderness like Prophet Elijah (2Kings.2:8), wearing a garment of hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and honey. The image of John the Baptist is to be observed with respect and awe. The attire and the attitude of this man were true and real. He was not a reed shaken by the wind, but unbendingly firm in deep and settled conviction: not ambitious or self seeking, but self-effacing with a single-minded mission of being the forerunner of the Messiah (V.30)
His Message and Mission: John, with a deep sense of earnestness, announced that the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand and the people had to prepare themselves for it. He came to call Israel to submit to the reign of God, which was manifested in Christ. He preached about inward repentance and renewal of life as the preparation for the coming of the Kingdom of God. His call to repentance is not only a call of turning away from the past, but also a turning towards Christ in the newness of life. Though he was the greatest man born of woman, he was also the most humble and most retiring. By the side of Christ, he saw himself only as a shadow cast by the light of Christ.
His Death: Finally John the Baptist proved his faithful discipleship by his death. He was beheaded by Herod because of his strong convictions and prophetic words. He was faithful to God who entrusted a particular mission through his life. As a disciplined servant, John the Baptist fulfilled his mission through his austere life, his message& mission and his death. As a part of the called out community, we all have a mission in our life, God has placed us here for a purpose. In it’s specificity our mission may vary from individual to individual but the goal is same to lead a witnessing life in this world.
Thought for the day: “John the Baptist is a model disciple, because he was able to let go his ministry for the sake of the Gospel”(The NIB) .
Prayer: Lord Jesus, prepare our hearts and mind that we may know the presence of your kingdom and recognize our commissioning as your disciple in this world...Amen .
Rev. Shibu Mathew , Epiphany MTC, NY