Genesis 1:9-13 (The Message)
9-10 God spoke: “Separate! Water-beneath-Heaven, gather into one place; Land, appear!” And there it was. God named the land Earth. He named the pooled water Ocean. God saw that it was good.
11-13 God spoke: “Earth, green up! Grow all varieties of seed-bearing plants, Every sort of fruit-bearing tree.” And there it was. Earth produced green seed-bearing plants, all varieties, And fruit-bearing trees of all sorts. God saw that it was good. It was evening, it was morning—Day Three.
The Gospel of John 1:19-34(New Revised Standard Version)
19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 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.
24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25 They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” 26 John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27 the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” 28 This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him and declared, “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John testified, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
Comment: in worship during Advent we looked at the characters in the nativity story. Elizabeth, John’s mother, was a significant person – the first person to proclaim Mary’s baby to be “my Lord.” The Gospel of John begins with John carrying on the witness of Elizabeth: “I do not know him, but this is the Son of God!”
Psalm 2:1-6 (NIV)
1 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.”
4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.
5 He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying,
6 “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
Prayer: Give me the eyes to see you Lord, and the marvelous creation you ask us to tend so carefully. Amen.