Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Advent XVII

 Bewildered is the word.  At first glance all we see is the passion and the intensity of John the Baptist.  This is understandable.  This preacher from the wilderness is a commanding figure.  He may be roughly clad and offensive to the nose, but no one stands on center stage with a greater sense of presence.  But, what is seen as we allow ourselves to look more closely at the scene there along the banks of the Jordan River is the sheer bewilderment of those people who are listening. Imagine being called a "brood of vipers," (Luke 3:7) when you saw yourself as one of the chosen of God.  "How could he say such a thing?" must have been the bewildered response of many.  But, there were others who felt the same.  Bewildered is what they must have been when they heard John tell them to give up a coat, or to take advantage of no one. 

John the Baptist not only pointed people to the physical presence of Jesus in their midst as he said, "Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," (John 1:29) but as he spoke to them that day about going beyond what was required in their dealings with others, he pointed them to the spirit of Jesus and the heart of His message.  Before Jesus spoke the words we know as the Sermon on the Mount, John was preaching its prelude out there on the banks of the River.  The people who heard him were surely as bewildered as were those who heard Jesus preach that extraordinary sermon.

It is the season for experiencing bewilderment.  If we make it to the day we celebrate the Christ-event without sensing it, maybe we will end up missing it completely.  Surely, these are the days for us to stand like those folks of long ago, amazed and bewildered at what God is doing in our midst.  Be open to the mystery.  Be looking for what God is doing.  Anticipate God's bewildering presence and His bewildering Word.

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