John the Baptist was a major figure in the early Christian movement. The image they had of him was drawn from the prophet Isaiah, that of “the voice:” A voice of one crying out in the desert. Jesus was, by contrast, “the word:” In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). A voice is what gets your attention. You notice a voice: a yell, a shout, a song, a whisper. “Hey,” and you look up. But a voice is external to you. Someone out there trying to be noticed. A word, though, is something internal to you. A word does not mean anything until you have taken it in and understood what it means for you. For example, if you are in a theater and someone yells “Fire” you know that word, you understand that word, you act on that word. Let’s say you’re in sunny old Athens and someone yells “pyrkagia.” That is just a voice to you, not a word. You do not know what it means nor do you know what to do. A distinction similar to that is the way the Bible looks at John the Baptist and Jesus. John was the voice getting our attention. “Hey you, look over here.” Jesus is the word who we must take into our hearts to understand his message of love, forgiveness, generosity, hope, compassion.