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Posted: December 31, 2008 5:06 p.m.

What do you have to say for yourself?

John 1:6-8, 19-28

Did your parents ever ask you that question? Something happened; you got called into the room — and then the question: "What do you have to say for yourself?" In all my years as a child — I never quite figured out the right answer to that one. I wish I had studied this text more closely sooner.

You see, in our text, some people try to pin down John the Baptist to say something about himself. But he wouldn’t do it. All he could do was remember why he was here (which is also why we are here) and point people to Jesus. The text starts out telling us some background on who John was — the one sent by God. He wasn’t the star but was here to point people to that light of the world. And John lived up to that.

Do we? We’ve been "sent by God" to show him in our lives as children, parents, husbands, wives, employers, employees, and all the other roles we have. Jesus tells us to let our light shine before everyone so that they may see our good deeds and praise not us — but God. But it’s easy to get caught up in ourselves. It’s easy to forget our purpose, especially in the midst of all the holidays we just went through. It’s too easy to let it become only about friends and family and food and fun and us - and forget why we celebrate: because God has given us the best gift ever.

God gave his Son to become one of us to take the punishment for all of our failures. God is so good that he loved us even when we didn’t love him. So he gets glory at Christmas and New Years and all the time, because we can say about ourselves what John did. When those priests asked him again what he had to say for himself. John answered with nothing but God’s word.

What a great example. Who am I? I am nothing but what God’s word makes me. You and I are ones sent by God to show people Jesus. You and I can answer that question with God’s Word. We are redeemed (Galatians 3:13), restored (Psalm 85), forgiven (1 John 2:12). We are sheep of the Good Shepherd’s fold (John 10). We are more than conquerors through him who loves us (Romans 8). What if, every time we were introduced, we answered that question of who we are like that?

What do you have to say for yourself? Even if you don’t quote any of these words, this year don’t forget who you are, and let your life show it.

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