Summary: Mary, the mother of Jesus, responds to what she has been told about her son with a bold declaration about God’s habit of overturning the status quo. Mary speaks about God as one who will not let powerless and discarded people remain trapped in those conditions. Her words offer more than wishful hope or religious platitudes; they restlessly and impatiently urge God to spring into action. Listening to Mary respond to her pregnancy has particular poignancy for Christians during Advent: she rouses us into action and expectation. This passage also can help citizens of certain nations think about the long-running war our countries continue to wage, leading us to consider its costs and burdens and to join God in God’s commitment to fostering a different kind of existence.
Read the full article, which is part of the ON Scripture–The Bible project, on Day1 and Patheos.
John and the Two Sides of the Pulpit (Matthew 3:1-12)
Summary: For those who preach, the ministry of John the Baptist, which the Gospels describe so minimally, raises important questions. Was John a lone voice, or did he have others he trusted who could help him work through his own issues and questions? How did John’s journey on the road of repentance figure in the sermons he preached? Preachers understand that preaching is never a one-way enterprise, from a confident speaker to a needy audience. We are often the audiences of our own sermons, and sometimes our best preaching is the preaching that we ourselves need to hear. Don’t view John as a totally self-assured individual; perhaps he was as vulnerable as we are. Repentance, after all, is not about feeling sorry or resolving to do better. It is a lifelong experience of trying to view the world and God’s place in it through from a different perspective. No one can do that entirely alone.
I wrote this article for those preparing to preach or hear sermons on Matthew 3:1-12. It was originally a contribution to the “Dear Working Preacher” series. Read the full article at Working Preacher.
Bible commentary: preachers & teachers workingpreacher.org commentary
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