John answered them all, “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” Luke 3:16
Let’s for a moment ponder what is happening here: John is answering those who want to know all about him and his God-given role in history. But instead of talking about himself, John would rather speak about the coming Savior, Jesus.
God had given John a role and it wasn’t about him – his role was to prepare people to meet Jesus. He did this by calling them to consider their sinfulness and to repent so that, when their Savior arrived, they would recognize Him and trust in Him to save them from their sins. These Advent devotions could do no better than to do what John did – to turn our hearts toward Jesus so that when we celebrate His birth we recognize that He alone is our Savior from sin.
What John did was as unusual then as it is today. There are many ways we can prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but sometimes our activities draw more attention to us than to Jesus. Too often our celebrations become a competition as to who has the most lights or the tallest Christmas tree or who receives or gives the most extravagant gifts. We might come out looking pretty good, but Jesus gets forgotten. John never drew attention to himself; he continued to call sinners to repent and turn to Jesus. What then will we do?
Prayer: Gracious God, we bless Your holy name for bringing joy to the world by sending Your Son, Jesus, to take away the punishment for our sins and reconcile us to You. Amen.
© 2006 Lutheran Hour Ministries
These devotions have been written by Rev. Paul and Kaye Wolff. Rev. Paul Wolff is a 1996 graduate of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He has served as a pastor in the Detroit area for 10 years. He and co-author wife, Kaye, live in Southfield, Michigan.
Kaye Dumas Wolff is Chairperson of the Black Ministry Church Planting Task Force and a Mission Affiliate of LCMS World Missions where she serves as a training facilitator for laity in evangelism and mission work. Kaye serves on the Advisory Council of the Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology of Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, and she is a presenter for Lutheran Hour Ministries’ Equipping to Share Workshop.
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