The second Sunday of Advent was about a reminder that John the Baptist was sent to prepare people for the coming ministry of the Messiah, as he went before Jesus proclaiming repentance and forgiveness from sin that was soon to be provided.
The theme for the third Sunday of Advent seems to be fairly similar. For both these Sundays there is both the Isaiah and gospel passages of text supplied to us to contemplate this idea.
When anyone anywhere wants something to be known there has to be a way to get the news out. In our day we have so many options it is almost impossible to get to all the ways. Between the usual newspapers and the TV and radio news there is also a vast array of ‘social media’ and internet news.
The news cycle seems to go 24/7, 365 days a year. With all the leaks and such from ‘official’ sources we know the news if not before it happens, as it happens. But almost 2,000 years ago God used John to be the “Voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the Lord.”
The Isaiah text for this week, chapter 61:1-4 and 8-11 says: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Jesus quoted this text in Luke 4 as He started his public ministry and we also know the power of Jesus ministry to change lives. Somehow John knew deep inside his own heart who he was representing as it comes out in the gospel accounts of John’s ministry and the passion he had for Jesus came through with a similar presence of the Spirit of God in his own life.
We see in the gospel accounts that as John preached in the wilderness that people came out from everywhere to hear him and be baptized in the Jordan River. Jesus himself said of John that no greater had ever been born before.
May we at this Christmas season also glimpse some of this power in the gospel message in our own lives. May we be part of the preparing the way for the Jesus story this year and not just the ‘Christmas Stuff’ that seems to take over our world while forgetting the Christ of Christmas.
Rev. Jon Bergen
Brechin Baptist Fellowship