Rev. Anthony is a Coptic Orthodox monk from St. Shenouda Monastery in Australia. He completed his Master of Arts in Ancient History at Macquarie University and is currently working to earn his Doctor of Philosophy on the subject of the Arrow Prayer. In the monastery, Father Anthony collaborates with many young people to produce Orthodox-inspired books and music.
The life of St. John the Baptist has some very interesting aspects that can apply to every Christian today.
From The Angel’s announcement to John’s father, Zachariah, we know that he was specially chosen by God.
“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord… He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah.” (Luke 1: 13)
We as Christians are all chosen in the same way by God. We also know that we are chosen by God before the foundation of the world.
“He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1: 4)
Reading the life of St. John the Baptist, we realize that was not called to serve at a specific time. Going out and calling people to repentance was, for him, a result of a conviction. He knew how special he was to be called before his birth by God, and his service is only a reaction to that immense love.
John’s mission was to prepare the way for Jesus’s coming, which is exactly my calling as a Christian. We are here to be co-builders of God’s eternal kingdom. As said about him in the Gospel of St. John, “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe.” (John 1: 6-7)
When we read passages that mention John in the Bible, we see far more descriptions of his personality and way of life than about what he said. His ascetic life, his witness for Christ, his humility in directing the focus on Jesus rather than himself, and his standing up for the truth regardless of the consequences are the highlights of his life.
So, I guess the only difference between St. John the Baptist and any other Christian is that he took his Christian calling seriously. This is why he deserved to be called the greatest born of a women.
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