Tuesday, August 23, 2016

JtB or JC?

Mark gets right to it in his account of Jesus' life...cuts to the chase, as it were.

Mark 1:1-11 from Eugene Peterson's The Message:

The good news of Jesus Christ—the Message!—begins here, following to the letter the scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

Watch closely: I’m sending my preacher ahead of you;
He’ll make the road smooth for you.
Thunder in the desert!
Prepare for God’s arrival!
Make the road smooth and straight!

John the Baptizer appeared in the wild, preaching a baptism of life-change that leads to forgiveness of sins. People thronged to him from Judea and Jerusalem and, as they confessed their sins, were baptized by him in the Jordan River into a changed life. John wore a camel-hair habit, tied at the waist with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild field honey.

As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. I’m baptizing you here in the river, turning your old life in for a kingdom life. His baptism—a holy baptism by the Holy Spirit—will change you from the inside out.”

At this time, Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. The moment he came out of the water, he saw the sky split open and God’s Spirit, looking like a dove, come down on him. Along with the Spirit, a voice: “You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life.”

From my journal, November 15, 2000:

Which would I rather be: Jesus, or John the Baptist? Would I rather have my way prepared for me, or prepare the way for another?  -  At one time or another, I'm sure that each of us is each of them. But oh, to hear God say, "You are chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life."

Truth is...None of us can actually be either John the Baptist or Jesus Christ, but we can, to a certain extent, fill similar roles in the lives of people we have contact with. I can help prepare a person to be ready to receive Jesus by speaking truth, living out love in practical ways, and offering grace and forgiveness like a "little Christ" (a literal definition of "Christian").

The song, You're the Only Jesus, as sung by The Imperials:

Or, if you prefer prose to poetry, this quick thought from David Whiting:

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