This is part 2 of 4 from our Lessons and Carols service at St. Stephen’s UMC from Dec. 31. This one draws from John 1:5-28, Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; 11:1-4, Hosea 11:1, and Zechariah 9:9. For more info on what in the world this is, check out the intro on Wednesday’s post.
Just before Jesus came into the world, his cousin showed up and started preparing the way. John was his name, and he was truly sent by God. He came to witness to the coming light of the world, the true Messiah, the Word Made Flesh.
Some asked, “Could this man be the Christ?”
But John knew that was not his role in this play.
John knew the words of the prophets of old. Of Isaiah and Micah, Hosea, Zechariah, and more. So he set to work, testifying about a great light that would come into this world.
Because the people who walk in darkness have seen a great light! A child has been born, the Prince of Peace! Wonderful Counselor, everlasting God! The true King!!
The true King will come from the root of Jesse’s tree; and this branch will be the true branch! He will stand up for the voiceless, he will proclaim justice and righteousness to the poor and the outcast. He’ll show the world once and for all what it means to love the true God.
John knew and proclaimed these words. And John did incredible things! So the people asked him if he was sure that he was not the Christ. And he said to them my job is not to be the Lord, but to prepare his way. Prepare the way of the lord! The Lord is coming! Prepare the way!
So the people in charge cornered John.
“What is it that you say you do here?”
“Who do you think you are?”
“If you’re not the one, are you the great prophet?”
“I’m nobody from no place. I’m just a messenger. The one who’s coming? I’m not even good enough to untie his sandals. Yeah. He’s that good.
I’ve been out here baptizing people in the river. The Messiah? He’ll baptize with the Holy Spirit!”
“Out of Egypt he has come! And before it’s all done, he’ll ride triumphantly into Jerusalem on a donkey. The words you’ve heard from the prophets? They’re true. He is who he says he is. He’s the one and only. The holy one. Emmanuel, God-with-us!”