Message in a Cracker

(150) Key Stage 2 & 3

VISUAL AID: Christmas Cracker, paper hat with word REPENTANCE written on and inserted back into cracker, toy and a plastic 'golden crown' , also a lighter and tongs.)

John the Baptist wasn't afraid to be who he really was.

He was focussed on what he knew he had to do and say for God. He wasn't afraid to step forward, he was obedient. When he spoke people sat up and took notice.

He caused quite a stir...rather like the reaction when a Christmas cracker is pulled. (ask volunteer to pull a cracker with you)…We all turn our heads to see what is happening. We all want to know what is written down on that little piece of paper with words on, and what the surprises might be, and where our paper crown is.

John the Baptist got real, he told it like it was. (show cracker message ) God had words that he wanted him to say and nothing was going to stand in his way! He wasn't afraid of the people criticising him. Nor did he seek their approval, only God's. People flocked to see John, and they hung on his every word.

John wasn't CONDEMNING everyone, he was PLEADING with them, to repent, to turn to God, to get prepared and his job was to clear the way for him coming . So the people turned away from their sins! They repented and were baptised. ( burn the paper ‘REPENTANCE) in a large safe bowl)

He was also telling the people that they had to get ready for a big surprise, someone was coming who would be great and mighty. 'Get ready for SURPRISES he was saying,( show the little toys from the cracker)

Of course John was talking about Jesus, the coming KING. We know now that the crown he would wear one day was not a traditional king's crown at least for this world, it would be made of thorns. (show the paper crown)

John the Baptist pointed away from himself, to the coming King Jesus. He was quick to let people know he was not the special one; he was not the King, nor the Messiah; no he was only a finger pointing to the One who was to come. He baptised people in water, but the one coming was very special indeed for He would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire! 'Look to Him he was saying, not to me!'

We are so full of our own importance today. So often we see SELF written so clearly...self- esteem,

self-importance; self-improvement-self-assertive, self-assured, self-centred, self-help, self-indulgence...we're so selfish, we think the world should revolve around us!

John still teaches us today, that we must grow less, and Jesus must grow greater, if we are to serve and help others in the world we live in, and make his kingdom grow.