Third Week of Advent
John 1:6-8, 19-28
As we enter into the third week of Advent, I am reminded of a colleague’s devotional thoughts as Christians anticipate with excitement the coming of the Messiah both at Christmas and in the age to come. These thoughts challenge us to speak without fear of the gospel.
Let’s listen carefully to what my dear fried shares from his understanding of John the Baptist’s role in preparing the nation of Israel for our Lord’s coming:
John the Baptist was a most extraordinary individual, wasn’t he? Aside from his rather eccentric dress sense (a scratchy camel’s hair robe and leather belt reminiscent of the prophet Elijah) and his penchant for eating locusts and wild honey, he was clearly not an ambitious man. One thing for certain, he had no designs on one of the top jobs back in Jerusalem. – though that wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility, his father was a priest in the Temple after all. In fact, it’s almost as if he went out of his way to annoy the powers that be.
John was the sort of man who had the courage to speak his mind freely without fear or desire for favour. He spoke the words he believed that God wanted the people to hear, and the people flocked out to hear him. But what attracted them? Was it his honesty and integrity, his willingness to speak the truth no matter what the cost to himself? That would have made a refreshing change, especially for those who traveled out of the city into the desert to see him.
Yet he never chose comfortable words, rather he challenged people in a way that they had not been challenged before. He called people back to their core beliefs and reminded them of the days when they lived in the desert. This Advent we too are called back to fundamentals, to prepare ourselves for the coming of the Lord. What will our response be?
Revd Andy Carley
Vicar, St. Paul’s Anglican Church Christchurch
Let us think on these words this Advent season.