Advent 15: Psalm 31,32 & Luke 3:7-18

From Jessica Patton

Today’s reading from Luke paints a picture of a day in John the Baptist’s ministry: Multitudes have come to see him. They are all waiting. They want to be baptised, and they want their Christ, the Messiah. So many people; so much need; so much hope! Is this the Christ? Will he save them? And then, as all of those people wait in expectation, John addresses them as a “brood of vipers!”

That’s not how people who are waiting to be baptized are supposed to be addressed!

These people were the sons of Abraham. They thought they should receive the baptism and participate in the redemption the Christ was to bring. But John the Baptist saw things differently. He challenged the people on the condition of both their hearts and their lives. It wasn’t enough simply to want rescuing from destruction; John called them to repent and then to demonstrate that repentance by doing that which had been commanded of old: give to those in need, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness.

Sometimes I find it all too easy to enter into Advent with the attitude of the multitude. I’m here. I’m waiting in expectation. I know the times are dark and the days are full of evil. I want Jesus to return and make everything new - yes! I do have hope.

But that is not enough, is it? Am I bearing fruit worthy of repentance? Have I daily confessed my transgressions and then listened and acted as the Lord teaches me in the way I should go (Ps. 32:8)? It is often easier to say “Yes, come quickly, Lord Jesus and wipe away all of our tears” than to admit that I am the one that has caused some of those tears. I need to be forgiven, and I need to live in the light of that forgiveness. Only then I can fully enter into the joy of the Advent season, knowing that the Lord has redeemed and will redeem me.

I am wife to Brian and mother to Ayelet and Oliver. I enjoy reading about history and politics (although I never turn down a good mystery), and love travelling to see firsthand where current and historical events have happened.