Reflection on the Gospel of Matthew 3: 1-17 Second Sunday of Advent Dec 4 2022

The Gospel of Matthew 3:1-17

In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’”

Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our ancestor’; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore, that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

“I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.  But John tried to deter him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.’ Then John consented. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.’

Let us Pray: Father, in the wilderness of the Jordan you sent a messenger to prepare people’s hearts for the coming of your Son. Help me to hear his words and repent of my sins, so that I may clearly see the way to walk, the truth to speak, and the life to live for Him, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

Second Sunday of Advent: Today we relight the candle of HOPE. Now we light the candle for the second Sunday in Advent. This is the candle of PEACE. As we prepare for the coming of Jesus, we remember that Jesus is our hope and our peace. From the prophet Isaiah:

“For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” —Isaiah 9:6-7

From the Gospel of John: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”—John 14:27

There was a man that came to prepare others for something significant. .

In this Sunday’s Gospel from the book of Matthew we will hear about a strange man named John the Baptist, He did seem to be familiar with who Jesus really was and he knew that Jesus was the Messiah. Through his ministry, John sought to point people to Jesus. john was doing preparation for the coming ministry of Jesus. He was going to focus on preparing the way for the King and the issue of repentance. This was counterintuitive, this is what doesn’t quite land on us. This is what we don’t necessarily think that we need. We need repentance. John’s message was a call to repentance. Some people think that repentance is mostly about feelings, especially feeling sorry for your sin. It is wonderful to feel sorry about your sin, but repent isn’t a “feelings” word. It is an action word. John told his listeners to make a change of the mind, not merely to feel sorry for what they had done. Repentance speaks of a change of direction, not a sorrow in the heart. We need to get this, people! We often fail to appreciate how important the preparation work for the Lord is. Any great work of God begins with great preparation. The idea of preparing the way of the Lord is a significant event because the real preparation must take place in our hearts. Building a road is very much like the preparation God must do in our hearts. They are both expensive, they both must deal with many different problems and environments, and they both take time. Make His paths straight: The passage Matthew quotes from (Isaiah 40:3) has in mind building up a great road for the arrival of a majestic king. The idea is to fill in the holes and knock down the hills that are in the way. (The idea is taken from the practice of eastern monarchs, who, whenever they entered upon an expedition, or took a journey through a desert country, sent harbingers before them, to prepare the way.)

John’s cry of repentance is the call to turn away from our indifference to engage, at a life-changing level, the coming kingdom and the way that kingdom reorders our relationships and priorities. John’s words are words of interrogation. Do we care enough to change our lives and the world in which we live? Do we love enough to get angry about the suffering and plight of other human beings – even if we’ve never met them? Let it show! Remember it’s not all about you.

Let us Pray: O Lord God, at the first coming of your Son Jesus Christ, you sent John the Baptist in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way before him. Grant to the ministers of your Word and sacraments the same burning zeal to prepare the way for his coming again; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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