As in a popular Christmas movie of years past, John the Baptist had the chance to give a very influential gift to Herod, the reward of which would either be chalked up to his own smarts (in which case the gift would be regarded as nothing) and the failure of which would be blamed on the gift. Herod asked, "Are you the One?" But John did not say yes. He is seen as a paragon of courage and honesty. For this, and reproof for sin, Herod threw righteous John into prison. No happy ending.
Should we then focus on John's character? No - something more. He puts the gift in front of us; it's all we see. "One greater than I is coming." The very Son of God, coming to be baptized! Because of this infinitely wonderful gift's magnitude, we see no giver. Does this matter? Perhaps. The recipient, not knowing the giver, shows love to all potential givers precisely because of the gift. God the Father, seeing only Jesus Christ, gives all of us the benefits! He sees us now as His children; He is well pleased with us!
This morning, in the Supper, we reap the benefits: God loves us. Hide yourself behind the Gift.
Soli Deo gloria.