Monday, 14 September 2015

Life's relay - Sunday 13th September 2015

Imagine life as a relay race. John the Baptist was the person who ran the leg before Jesus, and handed the proverbial baton on to him.
John took the well established Jewish ritual of baptism and reimagined it. In traditional Judaism, baptism is a routine purification ritual that is required before a ritually unclean person can return to society and worship. John re-presented baptism as a public expression of turning back to God, with a commitment to live a caring, honest and generous life. John's ultra-simple version of Judaism was hugely popular.
Jesus saw this and decided it was time he moved from his obscure life in Nazareth. By being baptised by John, Jesus endorsed John’s teaching. He taught alongside John for a while, taking on some of John’s disciples. Then, when John was put in prison, Jesus picked up the baton and proclaimed a very similar message.
Jesus made some changes to John’s message. His teaching was even more simple. He dropped the baptism ritual completely, and carefully avoided any teaching that might be interpreted as religious law.
Three years later, Jesus handed the baton over to his disciples. It was their turn. Interestingly, they reintroduced the baptism ritual, merging Jesus’ teaching with John's.
As Christians, we all take a turn with this proverbial baton. For some of us, it is time to take the baton over and run our leg of the race. For others it is time to hand it over to the next generation. As Jesus did things differently from John, and Jesus’ disciples did things differently from him, God leaves it to us to decide how we will run our leg.


  1. I thought the the image of the relay-race was most useful to describe the John the Baptist passing on the torch to Jesus and Jesus taking that message and spreading it in his "Own Way". I believe the good thing for us as Christians of Today's World can examine and reflect on How Jesus spread the message, The Disciples and Christians throughout history. We can see where things have gone good and where things have gone bad. We can learn from our predecessors examples and come up with creative way of our own in spreading the message in our Community

  2. You brought John's ministry to life! I had never contemplated the analogy of a relay race before. I am still thinking of where I am in the race, perhaps I'm at the 3rd leg and perhaps looking to see who I should pass the baton onto. David T

  3. John's successor simply turned up, ready to go. But Jesus had to select and train his successors. It could go either way for any of us.