The New Year offers a great opportunity to assess where we are and how we can grow. As Christians, we are in constant pursuit of growth in our relationship with Jesus and in how we faithfully live out and reflect his truth, holiness, and love.
Jesus challenges our definition of greatness. He tells his disciples that the last shall be first and that the first shall be last. This goes far beyond mere teaching, however, as Jesus’ birth, life, ministry, and sacrificial death powerfully demonstrate and exemplify this definition of greatness. Jesus comes to earth, not to be served but to serve. This was a challenge to James and John, and it remains a challenge to us today to pursue greatness through humble servanthood.
Luke begins his Gospel account with John the Baptist preparing the way for Jesus. John is an amazing man of God, whom the Old Testament prophets, Isaiah and Micah referred to as the one who goes before the Lord and prepares the way. This is the same John who says that the one who comes after him is greater than he, whose sandals he is unworthy to untie.
Often we look to Matthew and Luke’s gospels during the Christmas Season, as they beautifully and powerfully narrate the birth of Jesus and surrounding events. John’s gospel, on the contrary, may not seem very christmasy on the surface, as he does not narrate many of the events surrounding Jesus’ birth. Instead, John goes back to the beginning of time, to creation itself, for his readers to see and understand that Jesus is more than a man. He is Emmanuel, God with us.