Monday, December 09, 2019

9. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

John the Baptist, the “John” referred to here, is described as a man “sent by God”. The Gospels all give John high honour as a prophet, who was chosen to pave the way for Jesus. In Luke’s Gospel he is described as a relative of Jesus, the son of her cousin Elizabeth, and Christian art has often portrayed them as children together, like Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “Madonna of the Rocks”. This Gospel doesn’t tell the story of John’s death, though it refers to him being in prison (3.24), and in 5.35 Jesus refers to him in the past tense, so it sounds as if he has been killed by then. It seems as if his story was so well known that the writer didn’t feel it necessary to mention it. But it is still clear that John’s mission, the thing he was “sent by God” to do, was an unenviable one – it ended in a squalid death on the whim of a spoilt girl, manipulated by her mother, who demands his head on a platter as a reward for dancing for King Herod and his guests. (Matthew 14). John is honoured in the Gospels because, like so many of the prophets before him, he did not turn back from the message he had been sent to proclaim. Like the writer of Psalm 26, he could say “I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering.” 

Have you ever struggled to do something you knew you should? How did you deal with this?
What do you think God has “sent” you to do? What is your life for?
Are there dangers in thinking of ourselves as “people with a mission”?


Make a label or draw a label shape. Write or draw on it some of the things you do.

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