Advent – December 6th, 2018

Luke 1:13-17
“In the Spirit and power of Elijah.” That’s how Gabe predicts John’s ministry. It’s quite a comparison, but what does it mean? First, we should take it historically. This Spirit and power are how all the prophets predicted and anticipated the coming of God – His advent to us in Jesus Christ. It has all been prep work up to this point in Luke, getting things ready for this universe shaking event – the coming of a God into the physical world. Remember, this is fantastical non-fiction, historical events of miraculous proportion described in the lives of everyday men and women. It’s been a long set up period. You could say it’s been steadily in preparation since the first moment of creation when the stars were spun out by the incredible energies of the big bang. How do I know that? God never asked angels to lead out the stars. Their fiery glory, first known in the first nanoseconds of the universe, was merely a shadow of the glory that shines in the face of our Savior Jesus! It’s all been prep. The eons of time and amazing creation of every animal that has ever walked, swum, or crawled across our planet – all prep for His coming. The laws, the histories of Israel, the prophets and their sermons, the poetry of the ancient temple worship are all preparation for Him. Culminating here, in John the Baptist, the last herald before the great King. However, it’s more than prep. That reference to Elijah is a bit double-edged. It promises power and wisdom at the highest supernatural level, but it also predicts suffering. Elijah was on the wrong side of the power structures of his day. King Ahab, a twisted and evil little man, hated Elijah for confronting his worship of demons and child sacrifice. Ahab called Elijah the “troubler of Israel” for speaking truth, and Elijah found himself hunted and hated most of his life. John also found himself on the bad side of powerful politicians, but he didn’t escape them as Elijah did. Herod put him in prison, and out of pressure at a dinner party had his head cut off. The coming of our Father’s kingdom always has these two sides. One in triumph, and one in suffering. It does come with joy and wonder to the people of God, and the men and women who have the Spirit and power of Elijah today are still excited about advent! We see our Savior’s coming now into people’s hearts, and we see it their new birth. We see people “turning to God” the way John did. Baptisms are are a part of His coming! They are the “advent” events today. We are still the culmination of all the prep work of God, but we also have to struggle with the downside. There will be resistance, persecution, and rejection as well. We will find an unnatural response at times to the gospel that can be puzzling and surprising – sometimes from inside the church and sometimes from outside. But, we aren’t supposed to be surprised. In any case, we need that same Spirit and power now. With Him, we can be a part of God’s prep, and in Him, we can suffer the rejection and hatred we fear. Praise Him. Seek Him. And, turn to Him today.

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