Many years ago, February 18, 2018, you were baptized into the faith of Jesus Christ. Your parents have done this for you by virtue of their commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. They have expressed their faith in Jesus Christ and promised to live in such a way that you would come to learn of that faith by their example. Not by their words, but by their example. You’ll have questions and they can address those or send you to a pastor to help with those questions. And on this day, I had the privilege of being the person that conducted your baptism.
Let me begin this morning by asking you all a series of questions. I don’t expect an answer, just that you would consider the questions. Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? If so, how are you doing with it? It has now been a little over 6 weeks. Have you slipped away from those great intentions?
It’s taken a few weeks to see the extent of the damage, but last month’s freeze has left my garden looking like a crunchy, brown wilderness. All sorts of plants – and even my beloved mango tree – were killed back, leaving me with a yard full of split branches and brown leaves.
The actual plot of today’s Gospel is quite simple. Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the top of a mountain where, suddenly, his clothes begin to shine, “becom(ing) dazzling white.”
I remember the moment I met my wife like it was yesterday. It was a blind date – a blind date that had been encouraged by my parents. I wasn’t sure what to expect – my dad had said she was cute. My mom said I should call her. I did.
So what can we learn from Jonah besides him spending three days in the belly of a big fish?
The Old Testament is positively littered with prophets: one Biblical commentary listed 45 of them! Even before Israel was formed, God anointed people to speak His authority over Creation.
Today’s gospel reading is the prologue to John’s entire gospel, a gospel John wrote for the express purpose of producing faith in us that Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the eternally-begotten Son of his Father, a faith that allows us to be adopted by his Father through the grace and truth displayed in the life of Jesus, as John illustrates that fact by going on to describe and reflect on seven signs that he selects from among the countless, daily signs he could have chosen of Jesus’ unique relationship to his Father and his mission of salvation for all on earth.
God became man for no other reason than to save us.
Despite his denial, Jesus identifies John as Elijah, the forerunner of the Messiah.