The Bible: The Power of Rebirth

The Preaching of John the Baptist

Click to Read Mark 1:1-8

SECOND SUNDAY IN ADVENT
  • Last Sunday we were told to be prepared,
    • Prepared for the coming of the Messiah – Gods Only Son
  • This week we have John the Baptist
    • Urging his listeners to come to attention
      • Attention because, the Son of Man is right around the corner
    • Mark identifies John the Baptist as the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy.
      • A prophet who will herald the coming of the Messiah.
      • A herald, so people are not caught unawares.
      • This prophet will come from the area of the desert
      • His message
        • Make space for the King of Kings to come
        • Let there be no opposition in mind heart and Spirit
        • Welcome the Messiah in all ways.
  • Though the Jews expected the Messiah, in accordance with Daniel’s prophecies
    • There was a sort of stagnation that had set in
    • Many, especially the authorities were satisfied with the Status Quo
    • Their hearts were unwelcoming of change and the new hope.
    • They had become lukewarm towards  God
  • So John’s first action needed to be to jolt them with Shock Message
    • Wake Up!
    • Do you realise who it is who is coming…?
    • I  think many did not receive the message with gladness
      • Is because they did not see tangibility in it.
      • They wanted to know the birth of the Messiah
      • See him growing up
      • And understand the developments that would happen
      • And be able to fight alongside him to overthrow all foreign powers.
    • But this surprise element – that the Messiah was already amongst them
      • They here could not understand his origins
      • Neither that they could directly be part of his story
      • In the sense of establishing God’s Physical Kingdom
      • He was like those unreachable grapes,
      • Therefore they were sour
  • John the Baptist on his part was giving a known twist to the story of the Messiah
    • The Messiah would initiate another Exodus (hodas).
    • And this exodus would lead the people not from physical slavery to freedom and nationhood.
    • This exodus would lead God’s people to a right relationship with God.
      • In this sense, the Messiah was a threat to the ruling class (Sadducees/High Priests)
      • They knew their misconduct and the evil they practiced
      • But they assumed God would not forgive them
      • Neither did they want to be forgive,
      • They wanted to hold onto the power they had.
    • One thing, John said was required
      • Repentance of Sin
      • A turning away from old ways
        • (correct their path from the wrong that it was
        • To the direction, that God required them to be on)
      • And seek to do the right things
    • John, humbly accepted that his own self
      • was not worthy to be in the presence of the Messiah
      • not even fitting to untie his sandals.
  • John possibly was not clear of the full identity of the person
    • Possibly YHWH
    • Possibly the Messiah
    • Possibly somehow be both.
    • But he was clear that the Coming redeemer
      • Sanctify/Consecrate the people with water, like John himself
      • But the Coming One would Sanctify/Consecrate with the Holy Spirit.
  • Mark is expounding on Malachi and Isaiah,
    • Their prophecies of the time when the Exodus story happen all over again,
    • setting Israel free once more
    • and begin living personally with his people. (Incarnation?)
      • He would be with them;
      • he would be their God,
      • and they would be his people.
    • In the original exodus story God was separate but with them in the pillar of cloud and fire.
    • This time around God’s Spirit would live
      • with people,
      • in people,
      • becoming the air they breathe,
      • the fire in their hearts.
  • Are we like the people of Jesus’ time
    • On a different tangent
      • With goals that don’t rhyme with the message of John the Baptist to prepare our hearts and person to welcome Jesus.
    • Or are we disillusioned by Christianity and the world around
      • Do we want freedom from these
      • And live our own lives…
    • But what guarantee is there that the path we have chosen will guarantee fulfilment for us.
      • Don’t trust the human agents of God
        • But trust Jesus, for he claims to be the Author of Life
        • Your creator
        • impartial and Love himself
      • Pray to him
        • Make place for him in your heart
        • Ask him to come
        • Be born in your life today
        • Guide you and lead you
        • And make sense of the world, and the confusion around you.
        • Bringing meaning, hope, direction and purpose to you life
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