John 1:6-8, 19-28 The Scripture readings for the first two Sundays of Advent focused on the importance of being prepared for the still-to be-fulfilled promise of Christ’s second coming.
For Advent 3, in the Gospel of John, one of Jesus disciples, we focus on preparing our hearts for the commemoration of the remembrance of Gods promise fulfilled over 2,000 years ago.
This fulfilled promise was the miraculous virgin birth of Jesus Christ. As John records, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) And, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (John 1:14a)
Now, in those days John the Baptist was sent by God as a witness to testify about Jesus Christ so that all who would hear Johns testimony might believe. It is interesting to note that the words of John the Baptist were only one part of his witness pointing to the light of the world, who was now in the world. It was the lifestyle and actions of John the Baptist that caused the Jews in Jerusalem to send priests and Levites to ask John who he was.
The Jews actually thought John was their Messiah Savior sent by God, but John denied he was the Christ. Frustrated, the priests and Levites asked John who he thought he was. John replied in in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, Make straight the way for the Lord.” (John 1:23)
I want to challenge us all to reflect deeply on the spiritual aspects of John the Baptists lifestyle and how we may apply it to our way of life. I believe God continues today to call us to prepare our hearts and the hearts of those in our congregations for both the fulfilled and yet-to be-fulfilled promise of the arrival of Jesus.
John the Baptist lost his life because he spoke the truth. Many people responded to this truth by turning from their sins and allowing John to baptize them as a sign of their repentance. Speaking the truth today with the boldness of John the Baptist can and does cost Christians their very lives. The chairs in our churches are filled with people of all ages, shapes, and sizes having one thing in common they all are struggling with some form of sin, pain, guilt, or grief.
This Advent season, will we preach with the boldness of John the Baptist and, in the words of Alister McGrath in Mere Apologetics, “persuade people there is a door to another world a door that perhaps they never realized existed to help people to open that door and enter in to the world that lies beyond”?
There is a world that is full of hope, healing, and light that can never be extinguished by the darkness of the ever present evil around us. Jesus Christ is the Creator of Life, and His life brings light to our families, communities, places of work, and the whole world, so we can see ourselves as we really are sinners in need of a Savior.
When we allow the light of Christ into our lives, Jesus will light the path ahead of us and remove the darkness of sin from our lives. In the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Make straight the way for the Lord, the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us, God incarnate.”
Editor’s note: This week’s blog originally appeared in the AFL Life Lectionary library, scripture and teaching resources that affirm life.