“Life isn’t fair,” my four-year-old granddaughter once told me. She offered this judgment as a thoughtful observation, not a whining complaint. I remember taking genuine pleasure in her remark—not just a delight in her early capacity for philosophical reflection, but also a sense that this particular wisdom could be of blessing in the life ahead of her.
John the Baptist baptized Jesus of Nazareth. The synoptic Gospels all say so, and the kerygma in Acts connects the beginning of Jesus’ ministry with that baptism. But although Mark seems to find it quite right that Jesus should have been among those who heeded John’s preaching, all the other evangelists seem discomfited by the suggestion that Jesus was somehow a disciple of this other preacher.
Picture the old man with the baby in his arms. He stands chuckling with giddy joy, or perhaps he gazes with streaming tears on his cheeks, or is lost in transfixed wonder. He says that this is enough now, he is ready to die. He has seen salvation and he can depart in peace. But what has he seen, really?
From theological reflections to breaking religion news to the latest books, the Christian Century's newsletters have you covered.