It goes without saying…. That’s a curious phrase in the English language, isn’t it? Since it inevitably precedes what precisely does not need saying. We have one of those seemingly redundant moments in the gospel this morning with the Baptism of Jesus. Even John, who was probably a hard guy to rattle, seems a bit flummoxed by the whole day, not the least of which events being that Jesus took the time to come to him, the way a student might come to a teacher, rather than the other way around. That is, Jesus sought John out to be baptized. And we get John’s point: being baptized – the process of being named by God – seems a bit unnecessary when you are Jesus.
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Second week of Advent (Dec 5, 2010)
If we ever found ourselves in an interrogation room with John the Baptist, we know which cop he’d be: in the good-cop, bad-cop partnership, he definitely falls into bad-cop category. Of all the people in the gospel, he is the one cast as the speaker of truth, the revealer of hard facts. He stands out in that respect, because all the other disciples were generally softer with us, even when they were criticizing the behaviour around them. We know we are being told to smarten up, of course, but it’s more like a quiet chat than a tongue lashing. But not John – he did not hold back. He took his role of preparing the way very seriously, as if his job were to clean up the streets before Jesus arrived. He would definitely be a tough-on-crime kind of politician. A tell-it-like-it-is kind of guy. And he, probably, would have made all of us very uncomfortable. . . . → Read More: Sermon: Be Ready