2019 Advent Devo: Wake Up

It had been around four centuries since the Israelites had heard a Word from the Lord.  He had gone silent. After years of trying to call his people back to himself, there is a great Holy pause.  A great waiting period. There were a few folks who managed to wait on him with hopeful anticipation, but I think most (like I would have surely been) had stopped expecting.  They were no longer anticipating nor looking for him. They had grown comfortable and careless. They were slumbering through life. And it’s into this scene that Luke sets the stage so well for the arrival of the promised Messiah to enter public ministry.  I love how he recounts every generation by name back to the garden – it’s like this was planned. It’s like he’s coming at just the right time (Rom 5:6).

And God’s plan is not for him to just show up one day.  His plan involves an announcement from the one who is called to prepare the way.  Jesus’ cousin John the Baptist has a very specific purpose. He’s sorta like a spiritual alarm clock.  His call is to awaken the people to the coming Christ.  He announces the coming kingdom and the need for repentance.  Wake up! Be on the lookout! Change your ways! He admits that his call to life change and baptism is simply a start.  He can awaken and help folks to see the ways they have gone wrong and encourage behavior change, but his words lack the power to reconcile and sustain.  Much like the prophets of old, he had no power to renew and transform. He knew what he had to offer was woefully incomplete.

But… he speaks of Christ in v16-17 “The main character in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will ignite the kingdom life, a fire, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out. He’s going to clean house – make a clean sweep of your lives…” (MSG)

Don’t you just love JTB? Isn’t he what we are supposed to be? He clearly knew his purpose and place.  I’m not the one, but I know who is…  I can’t change you, but I know who can…  His life consistently and faithfully points to Jesus.  He has no interest in making a name for himself, but only draws attention to himself enough to awaken hearts and prepare the path for the coming King.  May we, like John, embrace our limitations and strive simply to awaken hearts to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords – the only one who can redeem and reconcile and change hearts and lives from the inside out.  Worship the King of glory!

You are loved!

Kevin Henegar