At that time, John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, for he was before me.’ I myself did not know him; but for this I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness, “I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”
Orthodox Christianity sets aside January Seventh as a day of remembrance of John the Baptist; he who was chosen by God to prepare the way for Christ. Because John’s main role in his life was played out on the day of Theophany (Epiphany), the Church from earliest times dedicated the “day after” to his memory. Among the Gospel personalities who surround the Savior, John the Baptist occupies a totally unique place by his roles in baptizing the Messiah and in baptizing people for repentance. John prepared himself in the wilderness of the desert for 30 years for his great service by a strict life, by fasting, prayer and sympathy for the fate of God’s people. John was of such moral purity that, in truth, he could be called an angel (messenger) as Holy Scripture calls him rather than a mortal man. He appeared on the banks of the Jordan, to prepare the people by his preaching to accept the Savior of the world. In church hymnology, the Baptist is called a “bright morning star,” whose gleaming outshone the brilliance of all the other stars, announcing the coming dawn of the day of grace, illumined with the light of the spiritual Sun, our Lord Jesus Christ. John differs from all other prophets especially in that he had that privilege of being able, with his hand, to show the world Him about Whom he prophesied. As the holy Forerunner and Baptist of the Lord—whom the Lord called the greatest of the prophets—John concludes the history of the Old Testament and opens the era of the New Testament. He bore witness to the Only-Begotten Son of God, incarnate in the flesh. John was accounted worthy to baptize Him in the waters of the Jordan, and he was a witness of the Theophany—a visible manifestation to humankind of God—of the Most Holy Trinity at the Savior’s Baptism. (from http://www.antiochianladiocese.org/news_110204_4.html)
Read this passage from the Holy Gospel of Saint John again along with the explanation and ask God to show you how to become as a Bright and Shining star to others just as John the Baptist is described in the paragraph above. Ask yourself; “How might I become a witness, telling others about the teachings of Christ?” “How might help to prepare the way for Jesus’ second coming just as Johns did for the first coming of Christ?”
Say the following prayer or one of your own.
I thank you, Holy Trinity, for because of your great goodness and patience, you were not angry with me, an idler and sinner, nor have you destroyed me in my sins, but have shown your usual love for me. And when I was prostrate in despair, you raised me to glorify with your power. Enlighten now my mind’s eye, open my mouth to study your words and understand your commandments, to do your will and sing to you in heartfelt adoration, and praise your most holy name, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
As always Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good; return no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the suffering; honor everyone; love and serve God; rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit!