From “the beginning,” John the Baptist leads us in this Advent season to our true Lord, whose birth we await and whose reign is eternal. However, God’s liberating acts do not end in Mark’s Gospel. The story begins with Jesus. But it goes on and on. As a baptized community, this new beginning takes place in our hearing or reading of this evangelion [the Greek word for “good news”]. This good news breaks into our own lives the moment we pledge allegiance to Jesus as the Son of God. As Jesus said, we can continue the work he started.
—Joel Bengbeng, “Radical Good News,” in Light from Afar: An Advent Devotional from Around the World (Upper Room Books, 2023)
How did John the Baptist’s message and baptism of repentance prepare the way for Jesus as the Messiah? Join the conversation.
John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the strap of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
—Mark 1:4, 7-8 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
O God, thank you for the light from afar that came into our world when your Son, Jesus Christ, was born. Be with us as we await the birth of the Christ child in our hearts once again. Give us patience in the waiting. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
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(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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