St John 1:6-9; 19-23
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’ And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ He said,
‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness,
“Make straight the way of the Lord,”’
as the prophet Isaiah said.
This week in our Daily Devotions, we reflect on the aspect of Christian life called ‘witness’. As we have seen with worship and evangelism, the message of God’s love can also be made apparent in what we do for others. For us, witness means that our loving actions are accompanied by the reason why we do it.
In our reading, John is described as a witness to the light of Jesus. He explained that he was preparing ‘the way of the Lord’, with a quote from Isaiah, himself a great witness, who had prophesied such an event centuries before.
John was secure in the knowledge that he wasn’t to be the centre of people’s attention, yet he used the attention he had attracted through his lifestyle and baptisms to point the way to Jesus.
The Joint Public Issues Team is one expression of the URC’s mission. As an ecumenical team, we seek to promote peace and justice in our society through mobilising our congregations to take action. It is a wonderful thing to explain that our congregations care about those who have been marginalised as Jesus cares about those who are marginalised, or that we are concerned about the climate crisis because caring for creation is part of our calling as Christians. It’s even better when we can demonstrate it.
A colleague of mine said something recently which has stuck with me: ‘It’s no good just doing the right thing; you’ve got to be seen to be doing the right thing!’
I can think of scriptures straight away that warn against an outward show of faith born through selfish ambition or conceit, as perhaps you can too, but the heart of what my colleague said applies to witness: the outworking of our faith is through action, and if it is to be seen, let your light shine so that all who see it will praise God.
How will your light shine today? And will it point people to Jesus?
Shine your light through me today,
in all I do and all I say.
Help me prepare the way
by opening my hands,
and my mouth
to tell of your great love.