December 10 2017
O COME, O COME EMMANUEL
MARK 1:1-8 (NRSV) GOOD NEWS IN A BAD NEWS WORLD
The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,
“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’ ”
4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
- There are many people in the world for whom the ‘good news’ sounds HOLLOW.
- Many are straining to hear a voice of HOPE in their personal wilderness.
…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Matthew 4:16 (NIV)
- The voice crying out in the wilderness ADDRESSES those of us who see no way out of the wilderness and those of us who get comfortable in the wilderness.
- John didn’t sugar-coat their condition, he did not EXCUSE wrong living. Instead, he called the people to repentance and they came to baptism confessing their sins. (Confession of sins was and still is the means of forgiveness.)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 (NIV)
- The voice proclaims that God is APPROACHING us in Christ.
- Ultimately, our wilderness is changed because we are changed by the HOLY SPIRIT!
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Ephesians 3:16-17 (NIV)