In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.’ This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, ‘The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” ’ Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then the people of Jerusalem and all Judea were going out to him, and all the region along the Jordan, and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit worthy of repentance. Do not presume to say to yourselves, “We have Abraham as our ancestor”; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the axe is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. ‘I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing-fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing-floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.’
This weekend is Saturday the 7 and Sunday the 8 December, the Second Sunday of Advent.
Diana Stanbridge sings ‘With You’. As you listen, place all of the situations worrying you into the care of God. Know that the God of love journeys with you…
Each of the four Gospels portrays John the Baptist in a slightly different light. In Matthew, John is first & foremost the preacher of repentance as we shall see in today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name “John the Baptist?” John appears in the wilderness. As well as describing the land near the southern part of the Jordan River, the word wilderness has rich biblical overtones. What does wilderness bring to mind..?
What are the wilderness places in my life, in my community, in the world?
Do I believe that in these places of loneliness, or broken relationships or failure, there is still room for grace?
Through his preaching, John prepares the way for Jesus & his ministry. Listen to the reading again hear John pointing ahead to one who is coming, one who is mightier.
Speak to God now and express whatever is in your heart as a response to God’s love and care for you.
O Wisdom,Lord and Ruler,Root of Jesse,Key of David,Rising Sun,King of the nations,Emmanuel,Come, Lord Jesus.