John 1:6–8, 19–28—When the priests and Levites confronted John the Baptist, asking him who he was, he responded that he was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah in the Old Testament reading. John is the man sent from God, the voice of one crying out in the wilderness. He went before the Lord Jesus, to prepare the way for Him, to bear witness to Him. John baptized and preached a message of repentance. Likewise, we still heed John, and prepare ourselves for the celebration of the coming of Christ in the flesh by repenting of our sins.
The LORD sent John the Baptist to witness to his and Christ’s identity. According to this passage, John the Baptist has a divine mission to bear witness to Jesus as the Messiah. His witness was in part negative. He testifies to whom he is not. Clearly and emphatically he said that he was not the Messiah. Neither is he Elijah. (Malachi 4:1; 4:5) Nor is he “the prophet.” (Deuteronomy 18:15)
John confesses that he was only a voice preparing the way for Christ to come. Then he gives his testimony of Christ who is so great that John the Baptist did not feel worthy to unloose his sandals. Though Jesus apparently was standing in the crowd, he was not known. To truly know Jesus, one must be given the enlightenment of the Spirit.
John identifies himself as a voice. Throughout the passage, there is evidence of a voice “testimony,” “witness,” confessed.” The voice proclaims the truth of Christ. Out of the heart the mouth speaks. What we believe in our hearts we confess with our lives. Witnessing is a natural, spontaneous expression of faith in Christ. A true Christian needs not to be commanded, exhorted, or trained to witness. He cannot help but tell of Christ at all times.Collect for Third Sunday in Advent: Lord Jesus Christ, we implore You to hear our prayers and to lighten the darkness of our hearts by Your gracious visitation; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
 Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series B, John Brockhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH
 Collect for Advent 3, Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis