2nd Sunday of Advent – Sunday 4th December 2016 – Matthew 3:1-12
After three months sabbatical, I’m back for Advent 2 – all a bit scary after not preaching for 3 months.
I’m going with the advent wreath theme so this week – how is John the Baptist portrayed as an Old Testament prophet?
- He’s in the wilderness – the site of several encounters and struggles with God. Elijah himself went into the wilderness when his life was threatened.
- His call is penitential – the prophets cried out against the people, especially those with power to change their ways so that the ‘wrath’ won’t come.
- He has a ‘leather belt’ just as Elijah has
- His food is feral – just as the Israelites in the wilderness with their manna and quails
- He’s definite, black and white, no room for manoeuvre in his message. The one coming will sort the wheat from the chaff
- Like Elijah, John is an outsider bothering those in positions of power. He demands that they change and there’s a threat if this does not happen
The outsider challenging those on the inside.
Penitence is part of the larger Advent narrative of longing for God’s Kingdom and looking for God’s Kingdom which is here but not fully. It’s as if you can’t see where God’s Kingdom is if you’re blinded by arrogance and sin.