Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
January 4th, 2011

George Butterfield

Law School Library
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Tuesday of the Second Week of Christmas (International)
First John 3:7-10
Psalms 98:1, 7-8, 9
John 1:35-42

Today is the eleventh day of Christmas. On this day the readings proclaim a Christ who is indeed the Anointed One and Lamb of God but also a Warrior, a Destroyer. These ideas seem contradictory at first but perhaps not more so than God incarnate wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.

John the Baptist announces that Jesus is the Lamb of God and immediately two of his disciples follow Jesus. At first they think of Jesus as a Rabbi and probably nothing more. Jesus noticed them following him and asked them a question that was too much for them, namely, “What are you looking for,” which is another way of saying, “What do you want”? Like so many people throughout the ages who are attracted to Jesus but do not know what they want, these followers said, and I paraphrase it the way I understand it, “Uh, well, we, um, where are you staying?” Really? That is what they want? They are following Jesus merely because they are curious as to where he lives? I take it that they did not really know what to say. They knew they wanted something from Jesus but did not yet know what. Jesus’ response? “Come and you will see.” Sure, they saw where he was staying but when Andrew found his brother Simon he did not say, “We found out where a great Rabbi lives.” No, he said, “We have found the Messiah.” Andrew is one of the great evangelists of the gospels. He follows Jesus, sees for himself, shares what he has found with others, brings them to Jesus, and then steps back and lets Jesus do his work. Like Jesus, he says, “Come and see.”

In case there is the temptation to tame Christmas, the Church has us also read about Jesus the Warrior, the Destroyer. The psalmist calls upon creation to worship the God who gains victory over his enemies. He who comes in the Lord’s name brings justice and fairness to the people. He is a Ruler who destroys all who would subject the world to injustice. Christmas is a great season to focus on the needs of the unemployed, the poor, the starving, the dispossessed. Yes, we celebrate a baby in a manger but the psalmist dares us to see a blood-stained sword in that baby’s hands. It’s a counter-cultural message. In fact, try that in your manger scene at church or at home and see what type of response you get.

Another temptation is to turn Jesus into the Destroyer of our political or national enemies. The apostle John makes it clear that Jesus is the Destroyer of the works of the devil, including sin of any type but especially unrighteousness and the lack of love. John says that we demonstrate that we have been begotten by God and have the seed of God dwelling in us when we turn away from sin, live upright lives, and love our brothers and sisters. Surely Christmas is a time to give gifts and demonstrate love but why not also make it a time when we turn to God and ask him to destroy the roots of sin that go deep into the soil of our lives? We do not need to wait until Lent. If God’s seed dwells in us, then the hold that sin has on us must be destroyed now.

Fear not! The baby in the manger, the Lamb of God, is also a Warrior. The one wrapped in swaddling clothes looses us from the bonds of sin and death. Come and see.

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