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Preparing for Jesus Part 2

Lismore Anglican Parish Bulletin Insert

 

 

Sunday 14th December 2014  ADVENT 3B

7.30am Lismore, 10am Dunoon, Wed 17th Dec 11am Lismore

Preparing for Jesus Part 2   Isa 61:1-11, John 1:6-8,19-28,1Thess5:16-24

John the Baptiser’s message is in focus this week, and some of the prophetic foundations for his ministry, and that of Jesus, are coupled with the story of his preaching, and his refusal to really identify himself. John did not feel that he was important in himself – it was his message that mattered, and it was a message of restoration and of empowerment, both within and without. John proclaimed that the One who was coming would baptise in the Holy Spirit – moving the ‘law’ into the heart (as Jeremiah prophesied). In Paul’s Letter to the Thessalonians, the believers were encouraged to live as true followers of Christ, with Spirits, souls and bodies enlivened by God’s Spirit. In a similar way, Isaiah’s prophecy speaks of restoration, particularly of the marginalised, poor and suffering, in the power of God’s Spirit.

God’s saving restoring work must always embrace our entire lives, our entire experience and our entire being. This means that, as much as our hearts need to be changed, so to do our structures and systems. As much as we need to rebuild broken cities, homes and nations, so too do we need to rebuild broken hearts, broken relationships and broken spirits. It is God who does the work of restoration – and this is the Good News of Advent – but we are invited, even as John was, to be voices proclaiming God’s coming, and participants in God’s saving work.

Adapted from: http://sacredise.com/lectionary/2014/11/advent-3b/#more-432

 

Isaiah 61:1-11john the baptist

611The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; 2to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory.  4They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. 5Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; 6but you shall be called priests of the Lord, you shall be named ministers of our God; you shall enjoy the wealth of the nations, and in their riches you shall glory. 7Because their shame was double, and dishonour was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. 8For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. 9Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. 10I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. 11For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.

 

John 1:6-8, 19-28

16 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 19 This is the testimony given by John when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ 20He confessed and did not deny it, but confessed, ‘I am not the Messiah.’* 21And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?’ He said, ‘I am not.’ ‘Are you the prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ 22Then they said to him, ‘Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?’ 23He said, ‘I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, “Make straight the way of the Lord” ’, as the prophet Isaiah said. 24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees. 25They asked him, ‘Why then are you baptising if you are neither the Messiah,* nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’ 26John answered them, ‘I baptise with water. Among you stands one whom you do not know, 27the one who is coming after me; I am not worthy to untie the thong of his sandal.’ 28This took place in Bethany across the Jordan where John was baptising.