Tag Archives: John the Baptist

Prepare #Advent

Brueghel Pieter the Younger John The Baptist Praching

Shouting,
preparing,
get ready!

We need to prepare,
to make it possible
to work on the bumpy roads,
flatten them,
smooth them,
straighten them,
remove obstacles

work on anything
that will slow God’s arrival
in my community,
in my heart.

Environmentally friendly tack coat for potholes

What is stopping that here?
What do I need to do?
How shall I prepare?

 

The theme of the second week in Advent is The Day of Salvation.  We prepare that day.

Luke 3:1-6 (CEV)

The Preaching of John the Baptist

For fifteen years Emperor Tiberius had ruled that part of the world. Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was the ruler of Galilee. Herod’s brother, Philip, was the ruler in the countries of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was the ruler of Abilene. Annas and Caiaphas were the Jewish high priests.

At that time God spoke to Zechariah’s son John, who was living in the desert. So John went along the Jordan Valley, telling the people, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.” Isaiah the prophet wrote about John when he said,

“In the desert
    someone is shouting,
‘Get the road ready
    for the Lord!
Make a straight path
    for him.
Fill up every valley
and level every mountain
    and hill.
Straighten the crooked paths
and smooth out
    the rough roads.
Then everyone will see
    the saving power of God.’”

What Have I Done?

So frightened
by those who tell the truth,
terrified of being
found out,
trying so hard
to keep face
in front of my friends.

Who is this man
who knows so much
about me?
The real me?
Who looks into people’s lives
and sees the truth?

I am a weak man,
easily persuaded
however foolish
or cruel
the outcome;
backed into a corner
by my own ego
and need to look good.
Feeling the need
to remove someone
who calls me out
on my life choices.

Taking a life
for sport.

What have I done?

Lord as I look at other people
it can be so easy to see their faults,
what I think they are doing wrong
or how they are hurting me,
but I’m not always so quick
to look at my life
so critically.

Help me to look
and think
and live
for you.

Mark 6:14-29 (CEV)

The Death of John the Baptist

14 Jesus became so well-known that Herod the ruler heard about him. Some people thought he was John the Baptist, who had come back to life with the power to work miracles. 15 Others thought he was Elijah or some other prophet who had lived long ago. 16 But when Herod heard about Jesus, he said, “This must be John! I had his head cut off, and now he has come back to life.”

17-18 Herod had earlier married Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. But John had told him, “It isn’t right for you to take your brother’s wife!” So, in order to please Herodias, Herod arrested John and put him in prison.

19 Herodias had a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she could not do it 20 because Herod was afraid of John and protected him. He knew that John was a good and holy man. Even though Herod was confused by what John said,[c] he was glad to listen to him. And he often did.

21 Finally, Herodias got her chance when Herod gave a great birthday celebration for himself and invited his officials, his army officers, and the leaders of Galilee. 22 The daughter of Herodias came in and danced for Herod and his guests. She pleased them so much that Herod said, “Ask for anything, and it’s yours! 23 I swear that I will give you as much as half of my kingdom, if you want it.”

24 The girl left and asked her mother, “What do you think I should ask for?”

Her mother answered, “The head of John the Baptist!”

25 The girl hurried back and told Herod, “Right now on a platter I want the head of John the Baptist!”

26 The king was very sorry for what he had said. But he did not want to break the promise he had made in front of his guests. 27 At once he ordered a guard to cut off John’s head there in prison. 28 The guard put the head on a platter and took it to the girl. Then she gave it to her mother.

29 When John’s followers learned that he had been killed, they took his body and put it in a tomb.

Jesus Joins the Mess

Sorry, but I can’t guarantee the regularity, or even appearance at all, of these posts at the moment, but they will appear when and if possible.  Thanks for bearing with me.

They were searching, searching for something to do with their sin, the things they had got wrong.  They knew that they weren’t perfect, their failure to live up to God’s standards troubled them.  The bloody mess of sacrificed animals wasn’t cutting it for them.  They needed forgiveness, they needed to know they were forgiven, feel refreshed and able to start again with a clean sheet.

And then came John, promising that if they turned back to God, they would be forgiven; and by baptism washed, cleansed and restored.

And the people came.  And responded.

Mark 1:4-11 (CEV)

So John the Baptist showed up in the desert and told everyone, “Turn back to God and be baptized! Then your sins will be forgiven.”

From all Judea and Jerusalem crowds of people went to John. They told how sorry they were for their sins, and he baptized them in the Jordan River.

John wore clothes made of camel’s hair. He had a leather strap around his waist and ate grasshoppers and wild honey.

John also told the people, “Someone more powerful is going to come. And I am not good enough even to stoop down and untie his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”

But John was only the beginning, the pointer.  There was more to come, so much more.

And the One That Was to Come stepped forward, came for John’s blessing, came as every other human being can.

He stepped into the messy water of humanities wrongs, and brought his presence and power.  All are washed clean by his presence in the mess.  He is here, God’s son, the one whom God delights in, with us.

The Baptism of Jesus

About that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River. 10 As soon as Jesus came out of the water, he saw the sky open and the Holy Spirit coming down to him like a dove. 11 A voice from heaven said, “You are my own dear Son, and I am pleased with you.”

Christ stands where we stand.  He has no need to.  He has not done the things wrong that I have, yet he stands with me.  As he stands with me, he allows me to stand with him – in the place of forgiveness, healing, strength and a clean start.

Will I let him stand with me?

Will I accept his invitation to stand with him?

Lord,
I come,
with all that I bear.

Thank you for joining me in my mess,
for meeting me in the river,
the place of cleansing,
restoring,
forgiveness.

As I meet you here,
may I let you work in me.

I come,
not spotless and blameless
like you;
but marred,
broken,
thirsting.

Wash me,
cleanse me,
restore me I pray.
May I seek,
and find
your forgiveness
and your life in me.