Christmas has come and gone. New Years is a shadow over our shoulders and our resolutions may no longer be evident in our actions or attitudes. As fleeting as those resolutions, is the speed with which Jesus grows up. A week ago we celebrated His birth, last Sunday we went with Him to the temple and today’s readings find Jesus beginning His public ministry. How time flies! Sometimes I wish I could experience that flight of time in the reverse!
Yet the readings do tie into the rapid maturation of Jesus because, as believers, we know the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus as one like us, was the necessary first event in our personal story of salvation. This section in John’s gospel, coming after the prologue, constitutes the introduction to the gospel proper and it develops the major theme of testimony in four scenes: John’s negative testimony about himself; John’s positive testimony about Jesus; the revelation of Jesus to Andrew and Peter; and the revelation of Jesus to Philip and Nathanael. All prepare for the revelation of Jesus to each of us. And we each believe according to the quality of our faith.
This is where the first letter of John comes in with its penetrating question: “Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ!” So in these early days of a new year we are called upon to reflect on the quality of our faith and our belief in Jesus as our savior. Has our faith eroded and gone the way of our New Year resolutions or does it remain robust and life-giving? This is an important question because the stakes are so high. For the promise Jesus made to those who believe in him is eternal life.
Just as John the Baptizer’s testimony was true, so the apostle John tells us that by our baptism into Jesus, everything Jesus teaches us is “ true not false.” And our confidence at Jesus’ judgment is based on the daily assurance of salvation. Our actions reflect our true relationship to God—Father, Son and Spirit.
Now, that is material for some new/refined New Year resolutions! For as the Psalm states: “Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth; break into song; sing praise.” For the Lord has done marvelous things! That is a great attitude to begin the New Year!
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