St. Mark 1:1-8
1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the Prophets: "Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You."
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the LORD; Make His paths straight."
4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. 5 Then all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.
7 And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. 8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."
Some of us can remember the Tonight Show when Johnny Carson was host. Ed McMahon would introduce the host with the intro music as the backdrop and after telling us who would appear on the show that evening, he would then say that famous phrase, "HEEEEEERE'S Johnny!" The word "Here's" was drawn out for a couple of seconds to make an impact.
In this week's Advent Gospel lesson from St. Mark, we see an introduction being made. First that of John the Baptizer, aka, John the Baptist.
Then John talks about the one who is coming that he is unworthy to even undo his shoe latch. Of course he is referring to Jesus.
No doubt John was a charismatic individual as he was able to gather people to hear his message. To visualize what he looked like, according to the scripture, I'm not so sure he was the kind of person who could just blend into a crowd. He dressed differently and had a peculiar diet.
John makes it clear that he has come to baptize with water and Jesus has come to baptize in the Holy Spirit. One thing we do know is this: John knew his calling. He knew what he was destined to do in this world as Jesus was coming on the scene.
During this season of Advent I think it appropriate to ask ourselves what it is we are called to do in this life. What is our purpose or assignment. We all have at least one and it is important to discover what it is so we may live a fulfilled life.
I truly believe one of the reasons for so much unhappiness and people who are unsettled is because many have not discovered their true calling or assignment. Maybe you have sensed a particular call or need to do something in this life but, for whatever reason, you just haven't figured out what to do or how to do it.
A good place to start is, first of all, ask yourself this question: Am I helping with the solution or am I contributing to the problem?
Then pray, asking God for guidance from the Holy Spirit.
As we are in a season of expectation, expect an answer and then act on it.
Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is Bishop of The Diocese of East Indiana Lutheran Orthodox Church, an author, and radio host. He can be reached at 812-662-5154 or online at www.faithandcourage.net.
St. Mark 1:1-8
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