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MEMORIAL OF SAINTS BASIL THE GREAT AND GREGORY NAZIANZEN, BISHOPS AND DOCTORS OF THE CHURCH

1 John 2:22-28


Beloved:

Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; everyone who confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he has promised us, eternal life.

I write these things to you concerning those who would deceive you. As for you, the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and so you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, abide in him.

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he is revealed we may have confidence and not be put to shame before him at his coming.


Psalm 98:1-4


O sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory. The Lord has made known his victory; he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God.

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises.



John 1:19-28


This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, “I am not the Messiah.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the prophet?” He answered, “No.” Then they said to him, “Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” He said,

“I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the Lord,’”

as the prophet Isaiah said.

Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. They asked him, “Why then are you baptizing if you are neither the Messiah, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?” John answered them, “I baptize with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.” This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptizing.

(NRSVCE)

Meditation


As we read in the Gospel about the questions that the Pharisees put to John the Baptist, we see that there is some confusion about the Messiah. They demand to know answers: “Who are you?”


John answers them with a reference to the prophet Isaiah. His answer should have been familiar to them and it carried with it a course of action on their part. His message was a message of repentance. The message was given to make people prepare and watch. "Make straight the way of the Lord."


Today, we know that the spirit of antichrist is in the world and our reading in 1 John clarifies for us how to discern the antichrist so that we do not suffer any confusion. We cannot be misled by the spirit of antichrist when we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and we receive him as Lord. If we confess the Son, we also have the Father. If we abide with the Father and the Son, we will have eternal life.


Do we ever fear that our friends or family may be deceived by the antichrist spirit? We must pray and teach them to have the Holy Spirit abiding within. The anointing of the Holy Spirit that we receive in baptism, teaches us about all things. If we know the truth and confess the truth, we abide in Him. Knowledge of God, in His Word, will give us peace. We are not people who live in confusion.


Today, at the beginning of the new year, let us ask God to keep us humble and free from sin so that we can have clear vision regarding the false spirits in the world and help others to draw near to Christ.

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