THE SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST
24th June 2021.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST IN OUR CHRISTIAN LIFE.
John the Baptist was the last of the Old Testament prophets and experienced “martyrdom” while witnessing for the Truth. He came to prepare the way for Jesus Christ by preaching repentance to the people. The Bible teaches us the circumstances that surrounded his birth. He was miraculously born of aged parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth. He lept for Joy in his Mother’s womb immediately he heard the greetings of the Mother of God, the Virgin Mary during visitation (Lk 1:39-45). Christ himself said: of all men born of women, none is greater than John the Baptist (Lk 7:28).
The birth of John the Baptist was a blessing to his parents and humanity. First, on the part of his mother, Elizabeth, who was publicly regarded as a barren woman, and by implication, under a curse. But with the birth of John the Baptist, it became pertinent for everyone to know that as old as she was, she was no longer cursed, but a woman blessed and miraculously favoured by God who can do all things. Also, the birth of John the Baptist was a reward from God to Zechariah as well, as the angel told him: “He will be your joy and delight” (Lk. 1:14). It was also for Zechariah, the fulfilment of the divine promise, especially when he recovered his speech and gave the boy the name John which means "The Lord is gracious ,” as the gospel tells today.
Likewise, the birth of John the Baptist brought joy and conversion to humanity as foretold through the lips of the angel: “many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him” (Lk. 1:14-17).
Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, as we celebrate this feast we can learn many lessons from the life of John the Baptist.
First, his life and ministry was totally under divine will and direction. He cued into this divine plan and direction till he died in active service. God has a plan for each and every one of us and hence, we should work in accordance with God's plan (Jer. 29:11). Do not work in another person’s plan. Work with the plan God has set for you. Most people have abandoned the life they should live and are living the lives of others. You are special the way you are and God loves you that way.
Secondly, we see in the life of John the Baptist humility at its best. He never arrogated to himself anything that did not pertain to him. For those who were confusing him with the messiah he said: “I am not the messiah!” (John 1:20). He went further to state that the Messiah is greater than him. On the day of Christ’s baptism, he also displayed a heart touching humility by asking Christ to rather baptize him. (Matt. 3:14). We are called upon to reflect humility always in our lives.
Lastly, Truth was the hallmark of John’s ministry. We all know that he came to bear witness to the truth. Of course our Lord is the Truth itself (Jn. 14:6). His martyrdom was entirely on account of the truth (Matt. 14:1-12). Our advertence to the truth must be in season and out of season. Truth must always be told because it exalts God. we are called to contemplate upon the person of John the Baptist who prepared the way for the Lord.
I wish you a blessed day