Forerunner of Christ-A A +A
The Good News
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
CHRISTIANS everywhere recognize the contribution of John the Baptist in the unfolding of the New Testament story. The cousin of Jesus and the forerunner of Christ, John prepared the way for the Lordâs public ministry. He called for the repentance of sins and announced the coming of the kingdom of God.
Like John, we are expected to become the messengers of Christ. We have the obligation to share the good news to people around us -- to our families, relatives, friends, co-workers, classmates, acquaintances, neighbors and even to persons we may not personally know. We need to tell them Godâs offer of salvation, and the eternal life that awaits those who accept the offer or the eternal damnation that stands in the way of those who reject it.
This was how John the Baptist preached. He taught spiritual truths plainly as they were -- no sugarcoating, no distortion, no compromise. As multitudes came to him to be baptized, he reproached them for their sense of entitlement, saying: âBrood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore, bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves: âWe have Abraham as our father.â For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fireâ (Luke 3:7-9).
In verses 11 to 14 in the same chapter of the book of Luke, he continued, âHe who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.â To tax collectors, he said, âCollect no more than what is appointed for you;â to soldiers, âDo not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.â
He had no fear in opposing the evil ways of rulers in his day. For denouncing Herod in marrying Herodias, his brother Philipâs wife, John was put in prison and in due time, beheaded. Yet, in all his ordeals, John stood his ground.
Like him, may we have the courage to proclaim the gospel in all its purity and power. The ordeals we face as a consequence of witnessing for Jesus did not yet lead us to the point of dying a martyrâs death. May we then be brave enough, knowing that the apostles of earlier days had even greater stakes -- imprisoned, beheaded, or even fed to the lions â yet remaining faithful to the God they served.
And like John, may we advance the kingdom, not for our own glory but for the glory of God. In reference to Christ our Lord, may we be one with his forerunner in saying, âHe must increase, but I must decreaseâ (John 3:30).
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 21, 2012.