By Tom Quiner
John the Baptist was a great man, according to Jesus:
“Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
Jesus and John the Baptist had an interesting first meeting, as described in the Gospel of Luke (1:39-45):
Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”
There is much meaning and beauty embedded in this passage.
As prelude, I believe this happened. This is important. Luke is one of the narrative books of the New Testament, along with the Acts of the Apostles (also written by Luke). Details and historical context were important to this author.
A beautiful thing happens when John meets Jesus. Though in the womb, he demonstrates an awareness of Jesus that can only be explained by divine intervention. His very soul was profoundly moved by the presence of the Son of God.
The personhood of Jesus and John is established by this reaction. These two human beings are not mere blobs of tissue. They are the two greatest men in history at the beginning arc of their earthly lives.
John’s reaction reminds us of the beauty of life. In this final week of Advent, may our hearts leap for joy at the anticipation of the birth of our Christ.