A reading from the gospel according to Luke 7:24-30
At that time,
24 When the messengers of John the Baptist had left, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John. “What did you go out to the desert to see – a reed swayed by the wind?
25 Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine garments? Those who dress luxuriously and live sumptuously are found in royal palaces.
26 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
27 This is the one about whom Scripture says: Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, he will prepare your way before you.
28 I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John; yet the least in the Kingdom of God is greater than he.”
29 (All the people who listened, including the tax collectors, who were baptized with the baptism of John, acknowledged the righteousness of God;
30 but the Pharisees and scholars of the law, who were not baptized by him,
rejected the plan of God for themselves.)
1. What did you go out to see? In the first place, what attracts us to go out? A fashion show? A luxurious car exhibit? Nowadays, a well-publicized extravaganza of singing and dancing by famous celebrities will surely attract millions of adoring fans and on-lookers who are too willing to part with their hard-earned savings just to pay the sky-high entrance fee. But a prophet dressed in sewed leaves and animal skin? Will you be willing to spend a few dollars to go and see? This is more than just a question of priority but a question of values. What do we value most?
2. When we go to church or to a prayer meeting, what do we want to see? A new friend or a new business associate? Even the clothes we wear are perhaps only for show. It is therefore important to always check our motivations in everything we do. God sees what is in our heart and mind.
3. John the Baptist was not a fashion icon or a famous miracle worker during his time. In fact, he was just a voice in the wilderness. Yet he attracted a huge number of followers. Still he lived a life motivated only by the mission entrusted to him by God. He didn’t care much how he looked or what people told him. It didn’t even matter to him whether he will be murdered for telling the truth! For being true to his calling, Jesus praised him as the greatest among those born of women.
4. The least in the kingdom is greater than John the Baptist. John died before Jesus was crucified and raised to life on resurrection day. This is the greatest event ever, the event that has made those who believe in Jesus justified. Too bad, John did not live long to witness this event. What a great gift we received. Though we are sinners which make us unworthy of the kingdom, Jesus died and saved us.
5. In this season of advent, may we be motivated by nothing except our love for Jesus who died for us. This love will drive us to listen to John the Baptist as he tell us to prepare the way of the Lord and to make His path straight.