Blog & Pastor Letters

Introducing Jesus of Nazareth

01-19-2020Weekly ReflectionRev. Victor C. Yakubu

After the celebratory engagements of Christmas and New Year, we face the next stage in God's revelation about the personality of Jesus. The work of John the Baptist is not yet over. There is one important event he must accomplish: Introduce Jesus.

John the Baptist refused to accept that he was the Messiah. He did not know Jesus when he was baptizing people by the Jordan River. In fact, he was performing all the baptisms by the river so that the personality of the Messiah could be identified. After so many baptisms, Jesus appeared before John needing to be baptized like others. It was at this encounter that John recognized Jesus by the signs God revealed to him. Biblical theologians give us many signs, but we but here we note only two significant signs. The first sign is the appearance of the Spirit upon Jesus like a dove. The second sign is the divine confirmation through the voice of the Father. John knew that Jesus was the Chosen One.

When John confirmed these signs were in place, he had no option than to proclaim, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. He is the one." He went ahead and introduced Jesus to the people of Israel: the long-awaited Messiah proclaimed by the prophets is here. We can now say goodbye to him and wish him well in his future endeavors. We know that John the Baptist underwent the gruesome death of beheading for speaking the truth while in the hands of King Herod and his wife Herodias.

As Christians today, we need to reflect on this narrative of God's revelation to us and appreciate the heroes for their roles. The villains remain villains. Other than John the Baptist, we need to appreciate the divine messenger who announced to Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary home. We also need to appreciate Mary for respecting the Angel who announced to her the birth of a son, and he is to be named Jesus. Both Mary and Joseph played their roles to support Jesus until he began his public ministry. We also need to appreciate the visit of the magi who came from the east bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus. The presence of the magi at the crib of Jesus signifies to us the universality of God's love and mercy now open to all nations not just to the people of Israel. And now we point out one villain in the narrative. King Herod is the greatest villain because of his jealousy of the newborn King forcing Joseph and Mary to flee with Jesus to Egypt for refuge.

In the narrative of the prophets, Isaiah stands out shining the light of the Messiah. He says, "The Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory...I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach the ends of the earth." Jesus is the shining light for all the nations to see the glory of God. The prophecy of ancient mes reflected the anxiety and expectations of the personality of the Messiah. John the Baptist recognized him and pointed him out to the people of Israel. The people of Israel knew that he was to come through the Davidic lineage, born of the house of Judah. Oh yes, Bethlehem of Judah became the chosen location for the fulfillment of God's promise.

The message to all Christians is to embrace the Messiah with reverence and love. There is no doubt about the life of Jesus. St. Paul disbelieved Jesus, but Jesus introduced himself to him: I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. God speaks to us from our doubts. The Messiah is in the world and many have embraced him. Jesus said, "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." (Rev. 3. 20). Will you introduce Jesus to those living in doubt? Keep praying!