5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon?
My husband and I recently went to the movies to see the first two episodes of season three of “The Chosen”, which is a show about the life of Jesus. I’m often not the biggest fan of film adaptations of biblical stories, but I find this show to be very well done. Where these two episodes picks up is right after Jesus gives the Sermon on the Mount and He is now challenging the disciples to go out and make more disciples.
John the Baptist was only present briefly in these episodes. We really only saw him when he was visited in prison by a disciple, but I absolutely love the interpretation of him in this series. He’s a little wild and outspoken, but just oozes excitement and compassion. I’d love to have seen the auditions for this!
What I think they got right, which we see in this text today about Jesus’ cousin, is that people are weirdly and surprisingly drawn to John. People came from all around, leaders who should not have been seen with John came to be baptized by him. And when we think of that in context of the advent story, Elizabeth knew of the importance of her son but also very much accepted his place even before he was born. She was experiencing unimaginable joy over not only having a baby but having a baby whose life would be to further the ministry of the Messiah.
From Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy, to John’s baptizing work, to today – people have been drawn to the humble ministry of John, cousin of Jesus. And that draw is his joy and eagerness to serve God.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
Where can you carve out joy in serving God this advent season? Not just serving, but serving with a hopeful and eager spirit!
Prayer: God of all, You have blessed us with Your eager servants who draw our attention closer to our faith and our own self-reflection. May it be so this advent. Amen.