Thursday of Week 3 of Advent – Gospel

Commentary on Luke 7:24-30

Today’s Gospel is a continuation of yesterday’s. Jesus had been asked by disciples of John the Baptist whether he was the One who was expected. And Jesus had given an indirect, but very clear answer in the affirmative. He was indeed the One. After the messengers of John had left, Jesus then began to comment about John to the people around him.

What, Jesus asked them, had they gone out to the desert to see? “A reed shaken by the wind?” Someone who shifted his position with every passing fashion, someone who just said what people wanted to hear? No. People went out to hear someone who spoke the truth without fear or favour, who was not afraid to say what needed to be said, even if people were not too happy with what they heard, even when it pointed directly at them.

Did they go out to see “a man clothed in fine garments”? Someone who was rich and famous, who lived in the lap of luxury? No, “those who are gorgeously apparelled and live in luxury are in kings’ courts”. They went out to see a prophet and, indeed, more than a prophet. A prophet is someone called to convey to the people a message from God. A prophet is someone who has a deeper insight into the way people should live their lives. His or her role is both to announce and denounce and call people back to their senses and to right living.

But, John is even more than that. His special role is to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who shall prepare your way before your.” Among the long line of prophets his is a unique privilege. “I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John.”

And yet – “he who is the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he”. Jesus is the one who inaugurates the Reign of God among us in his own person and in all those who accept his Word as their way of life. This was a privilege that John was never to know.

But with privilege comes responsibility. Our fellowship with Christ is something for which to praise and thank God. It is humbling to think that we are, in a way, more privileged than John, who knew Jesus personally. This privilege also carries with it expectations and challenges touching on all our lives.

We can ask ourselves that when people look as us, do they see a reed shaking and bending with every breeze of fashion? Do they see people who set great store by status, luxury and an obsession with the material things of this world? Or, do they see people who fearlessly and consistently proclaim the Way of Christ in all they say and do?

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