Advent 2011: 2.4 — And so it Begins

Throughout this Advent season, my goal is to take each of the four Lectionary readings for each week and write a meditation about each one. Largely my motivation for this is simply that I love the season of Advent, yet there’s also a little bit of hoping that by blogging through this season, I can use it as a means to grieve the recent passing of my Dad.

WEEK 2: A reading from the Gospel of Mark

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.'”

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.  Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey.  And he preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

— Mark 1:1-8 (ESV)

Rio Papigochi, Huapoca, Chihuahua, Mexico

And so it begins.

The beginning of the gospel — the Good News of the Messiah.

Mark’s rendition of the story seems to have the most abrupt of beginnings.  No angels, no Mary and Joseph, no manger, no shepherds, no wise men, no Bethlehem.  Rather, we begin in the wilderness with a wild man.

The beginning of the Good News.

Not a new beginning of the God story.  Rather a turning point on the continuum.  Prior to this beginning, we find Priests making atonement for the sins of the people by slaughtering lambs–as symbolic for what is to come as they are real.  Yet, John, the son of a Priest, comes in from the wild declaring that salvation is coming.

A wild man declaring that Peace has come.

A wild man introducing world to the embodiment of Peace.

A wild man heralding the coming of the King and His Kingdom.

There have been two themes as we’ve traveled along our Advent journey this week.  Peace and Preparation.

Preparing the way for the King who brings Peace beyond all understanding.  The King who prepares our lives for the glory that is to come.  The King who, in His absence, leaves us with the ultimate in Peace–His very presence, the Holy Spirit.

And so it begins.

A wild man declaring to the world that the King who is to come will bring Peace in the person of the Holy Spirit.

As the Messiah prepares the way for His coming crucifixion He reaffirms John’s statement.  He tells His disciples: “I will not leave you orphans.” (John 14:18, WEB)  He promises that He will send a Comforter (the word orphan literally means comfortless).  He promises that He will send Peace.

And so it begins.

The ministry of a humble Carpenter, destined to be King.

And so it begins.

The comfort that is only found in the Peace of the Holy Spirit.

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  1. […] take time to tell us about Mary, Joseph, Angels, Shepherds, or Wise Men. Instead, he begins with John the Baptist–our wildman friend. Eight short verses to say, “Hey, here’s the guy, John, and he was baptizing people, […]

  2. […] reading brings us back to our Wild Man in the Wilderness.   We encounter John the Baptist again.  Yet, instead of Mark’s presentation of him as a […]

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