Who Are You?” John 1:19-20, 23

Imagine the confusion of the religious elite in Israel when John the Baptist entered the scene.

After all the scribes, priest and Pharisees were the experts, the go to people to receive forgiveness and theological insight. But outside of Jerusalem, by the Jordan River a man called John was warning, scolding, forgiving the sins of people and then baptizing them. First they heard rumors of a man who was dressed of clothing made of camel’s hair praising God and telling people to confess, that the promised Messiah was coming soon. Ignoring the early reports, they soon needed to confront this man who now was being followed by hundreds who shared his warning and hope given. Coming to him, they demanded to know “Who are you?” The answer John gives shows at once his calling and the one who calls. 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.” How do we answer, “Who are you?”

Question of the week: When did Jan. 1 become the start of a New Year”?


Answer: The first time the New Year was celebrated on January 1st was in Rome in 153 B.C. But this New Year date was not always strictly and widely observed, and the New Year was still sometimes celebrated on March 1. January 1st was officially instituted as the New Year in 46 B.C. by Julius Caesar when he introduced a new, solar-based calendar, the Julian calendar. In medieval Europe, however, the celebrations accompanying the New Year were considered pagan and unchristian like, and in 567 the Council of Tours abolished January 1 as the beginning of the year. In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as New Year’s day.