Sunday 12th December

John the Baptist – The Forerunner.

To begin with here’s a simple question:
What is the link (or should be) between Boris Johnson, Desi Perkins, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and a Hammer? Or put it another way which one is the odd one out?

It is a sign of modern times that even John the Baptist has a Wikipedia entry. Yes, Wikipedia that fount of all knowledge! For what I can gather most of the facts are correct as far as we know. I’m sure many of you have heard Advent sermons about John the Baptist many times before and it is interesting to read and be reminded of some of the known facts and some which have a degree of confusion surrounding them.

The suggested biblical references are not exclusive!)

  • Recognised in various Religious traditions not just Christianity.
  • He was a Prophet at the time of Jesus. (noted by the Roman Historian Josephus)
  • A fulfilment of various Prophetic visions. (Isaiah, Malachi and Exodus) (e.g Isaiah 40:3)
  • In the Gospel tradition he is seen as a Forerunner to Jesus Christ. (Take your pick!)
  • Had an interesting diet and wore strange clothes. (Matthew 3:4)
  • Related to Jesus. (Luke 1.36)
  • He had practical teachings for lifestyle in keeping with divine relationship (Luke 3:11-14)
  • Had a message of God’s forgiveness. (Mark 1:4)
  • Baptised people in the River Jordan as part of a new beginning. (Mark 1:5)
  • Important part of the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. (Mark 1:9-11)
  • He knew his place in the Gospel story. (John 1:26-27)
  • Spoke ‘truth to power’ but came to a sticky end. (Matthew 14)

Returning to the beginning and the opening question. Answer – they are (or have been) all ‘influencers’. John the Baptist also was an Influencer.

An Influencer is someone who by words actions lifestyle influences the lives of others for good or bad. In modern situations some Influencers are portraying a lifestyle which doesn’t exist in the reality of the many.

There are many other examples. Who has influenced you in your life? Is an Influencer a Role model?

There is an important theological idea of Incarnation as the way in which God influences humanity. Not only Incarnate in Jesus Christ but continuing to be incarnate in men and women by the power of the Holy Spirit. In You and me!

Who has been a ‘Divine Influencer’ to you?

We still have a part to play as ‘Divine Influencers’ by word and deed. Attitude and action.

Revd Derek Boswell