Advent Devotional: December 15
When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written:
‘I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
– Matthew 11: 2-11
Here, Jesus is affirming to John the Baptist that he is actually the Messiah. The one sent from God. And then Jesus addresses the crowd – the Jews who went into the desert to seek out this messenger who was sent to prepare the way of the Lord. But who do they find? A man dressed in fine robes to announce a great king coming to save the Jews from all of their injustices? No, a bit of an oddity dressed in camel hair clothes, eating locusts and honey. This is who God sent to prepare the way for His only son?
I guess it really shouldn't be a surprise to any of us. When has God ever chosen the expected to lead the way? Abraham, the old man. Joseph, the youngest son. Moses, the murderer. David, the shepherd boy. Rahab, the prostitute. Jonah, the reluctant prophet. The list goes on and on.
So, then we come to an unwed teen and a lowly baby born in a manger. The message could not be clearer. God did not send us a royal king dressed in purple robes of majesty. God sent Jesus to be one of us. Any of us. Broken, humble, sinners. Jesus was born in a manger so that he could be approachable by us all. In the words of Charles Spurgeon, "We might tremble to approach a throne, but we cannot fear to approach a manger."
So, take heart as we celebrate this season and remember the lowly baby who came for every one of us, to show us the almighty power of love.
Keri McCall, NorthPark member