29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is the one about whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is really greater than me because he existed before me.’ 31 Even I didn’t recognize him, but I came baptizing with water so that he might be made known to Israel.”32 John testified, “I saw the Spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and it rested on him. 33 Even I didn’t recognize him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘The one on whom you see the Spirit coming down and resting is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen and testified that this one is God’s Son.”
35 The next day John was standing again with two of his disciples.36 When he saw Jesus walking along he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!”37 The two disciples heard what he said, and they followed Jesus.
38 When Jesus turned and saw them following, he asked, “What are you looking for?”
They said, “Rabbi (which is translated Teacher), where are you staying?”
39 He replied, “Come and see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon.
40 One of the two disciples who heard what John said and followed Jesus was Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Christ ). 42 He led him to Jesus.
Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
John 1:29-42 CEB
-Rev Melissa Fain-
Some of us tend to only see John as the guy who baptized Jesus, but he's a deep character.
We get more history about him than some of the Disciples. He has a birth narrative, or at least a conception narrative. We know his parents. We know his death.
He's a popular person, in that people knew who he was. The Pharisees appeared to see him in a positive light, which was kinda astounding considering how they were painted as being disconnected with society. The royalty even felt he was important enough to ask for his head by name.
There's more to him than baptism. He wandered the wilderness. His dress choice was a little unorthodox. (Camel hair.) He was the cousin of Jesus. He was considered a Prophet.
All that is true and what I am drawn to this week was John’s ability to raise up or put down the right people at the right time. It’s a leadership quality. He did it without concern for how it would affect his own place in the hierarchy.
First, when the Pharisee’s went to be baptized by John, John turned them away. In leadership circles the Pharisees were like CEOs to John’s basic management position. Rubbing elbows with the Pharisees would have been a good business move. Get in with the right people and your head might not end up on a platter kind of move. Bad leaders sacrifice the mission to move up the ladder. Good leaders sacrifice the ladder to save the mission. That’s what John did in turning the Pharisee’s away.
Second, he made a point to highlight Jesus publically any time they were in the same place. The truth of the matter is, leaders have absolutely no power. All the power lies in the followers. If those followers chose to follow someone else, that leader would be left powerless. That is why some leaders, when they see greatness, will privately let that great person know or not tell them at all. Publically sharing greatness risks their power. Bad leaders protect power while keeping their followers where they are at. Good leaders will sacrifice power to help or raise those around him or her. John saw the greatness that was Jesus, and was willing to sacrifice his power to raise Jesus up.
While we are on the subject, what do you consider are qualities of a good leader? Who would you personally call a good leader? I’d love to hear your comments below or on one of the platforms this meditation has been shared.
13 At that time Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan River so that John would baptize him. 14 John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you, yet you come to me?”
15 Jesus answered, “Allow me to be baptized now. This is necessary to fulfill all righteousness.”
So John agreed to baptize Jesus. 16 When Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up out of the water. Heaven was opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down like a dove and resting on him.17 A voice from heaven said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love; I find happiness in him.”
-Matthew 3:13-17 CEB
-Rev Melissa Fain-
There are two truths of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ):
Back in September this little jewel was released on YouTube. If you were in the right circles there was a big debate over whether he was really baptized. I'm not answering that specific question today, but I do want to look deeper at baptism.
Whether it's infant or adult(ish), what is it? What is going on? That's not a simple answer. I want to use media to explain different views. I'm not saying these views are perfect, or in some cases even good. Media is like a mirror. They find something to reflect, and they reflect. Sometimes they are reflecting a funhouse mirror, and sometimes their reflection is pretty on point. Let's look:
There's my list. What would you add?