- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.’ Even I didn’t recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be made known to Israel.” John testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. Even I didn’t recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one whom you see the Spirit coming down and resting is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.”
The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus. When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “What are you looking for?” They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher), where are you staying? He replied, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. One of the two disciples who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon peter. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Christ). He led him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
Reflection: Once there was a minister surrounded himself at the church chancel with children during worship and began to talk to them about the upcoming holiday national holiday. When asked whose birthday would be celebrated in January, the well-informed group responded, "Martin Luther King, Jr." The minister inquired further by asking what kind of work Dr. King did. How much prompting it took is not certain, but the answer being fished for was given. "Martin Luther King, Jr., was the minister of a church."
In an attempt to draw an obvious parallel, the minister reminded the gathered faithful that was also his life's work. At that point, with a straightening of the necktie and some posturing which made him look a bit taller and a lot more distinguished, the minister wondered aloud about the possibility of a holiday being named for him. Across a couple of rows of pews came an innocent whisper that must have sounded like Jesus himself: "You have to die first." (story from the book And Then Came The Angel: Gospel Sermons for Advent, Christmas & Epiphany by William B. Kincaid, III)
In our Gospel reading this week we see John the Baptist identifying Jesus as the Lamb of God very early on in Jesus' ministry. And then his disciples begin to follow him and also identify him as The Lamb of God and the Messiah. We see that one of John's most important roles is to point to the Messiah, to point to The Lamb of God, that everyone around him would see the wondrous works of God in Jesus Christ.
So often when we try to "be the hands and feet of Christ," here on earth, or show Christ to others through our own actions, we forget that we do not have to be Christ. In taking up our own cross, our job is not to be Christ, it is to point to Christ so that others may see the work of Christ here in our world. Surely Christ is within each of us, but our job is not to be Christ, rather to point to Christ, to show who Christ is through our actions. It is easy to think, "well of course I'm not trying to be Christ," but we might need to be reminded of the fact every now and again that our job is to point to Christ as John the Baptist did.
"The Lamb of God has shown us what selfless acts look like, and it is his example that calls us to lose sight of our own lives so that we and all of God's children might know a greater life," and we can know this greater life by pointing to Christ. (from the book And Then Came The Angel: Gospel Sermons for Advent, Christmas & Epiphany by William B. Kincaid, III)