Here we have John the Baptist once again testifying to his lesser status in comparison to Jesus. Today, this seems like overkill because we don't have any competing churches with John as the centerpiece. Since John's gospel as well as the Book of Acts continue to report about disciples of John the Baptist and they were written over fifty years later, there must have been some type of competing movement that lasted into the second century.
|Not all baptism in the world is Christian baptism.|
But for the majority of Christians in North America, there is more competition from being non-religious than becoming a Mandaean. What do we glean from this in the 21st century?
During Lent, this might be helpful for us to ask if anything is usurping Jesus Christ in our lives in matters of importance? We know that we are supposed to put God first in our list of priorities but is this actually reflected in our practice?
Verse 32 sounds out rather ominously, "He (Jesus) testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony." Well, obviously someone accepted it or we wouldn't be reading this gospel. But the exaggerated point may be that we tend to ignore Jesus far too often.
What is something that you are reluctant to put into practice from Jesus today?
Prayer for the day:
Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord, that by the observance of this Lent we may advance in the knowledge of the mystery of Christ, and show forth his mind in conduct worthy of our calling; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Gelasian Sacramentary, 5th century
Photo of Mandaean rituals by University of Exeter via Flickr.com. Used under the Creative Commons license.