Second Sunday of Advent: Isaiah 11:1-10; Romans 15:4-9; Matthew 3:1-12
Christ calls all nations to turn to Him.
The family tree of ‘Jesse, the father of King David’ has a very special ‘Branch’ – Jesus Christ (Isaiah 11:1; Matthew 1:1,6,16). Jesus Christ has raised ‘a banner for the nations’. He is ‘the Saviour of the world’. He has died ‘for the sins of the whole world’. The ‘Good News’ is to be preached to ‘all the world’. Christ calls ‘all nations’ to ‘turn to Him’. He calls ‘all nations’ to receive the ‘forgiveness of sins’. He calls ‘all nations’ to become His ‘disciples’ (Isaiah 11:12; John 4:42; 1 John 2:2; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Matthew 28:19). May our personal faith – ‘I will praise You, O Lord… God is my Salvation… The Lord is my Strength and my Song…’ – become our public testimony – making Christ ‘known among the nations’, telling ‘all the world’ what the Lord has done for us (Isaiah 12:1-2,4-5).
Let us love one another – and may the love of Christ reach out to more and more people.
With Christ’s example, ‘the encouragement of the Scriptures’ and the enabling power of God, let us love one another,‘with one heart and one voice’ (Romans 15:1-6). This is the way of glorifying God. Trusting in Christ, ‘the root of Jesse’, we are blessed by ‘the God of hope’, filled with ‘the power of the Holy Spirit’ – so that we may ‘abound in hope’. This hope comes to us through ‘the Scriptures’ (Romans 15:12-13,4). God’s saving purpose was not only for the ‘dyed in the wool’ Jew. He saved both Jews and Gentiles (Romans 15:9-12). Thank God that Paul was not as narrow-minded as many people are today! God’s blessing is not only for our type of people! Let us learn from Paul. ‘A minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles’, he was always reaching out to more and more people ‘in the fullness of the blessing of Christ’ (Romans 15:16,29).
We preach the Word. Christ sends the power.
Matthew 3 begins with ‘John the Baptist’ (Matthew 3:1). It ends with our Lord Jesus Christ concerning whom the Voice from heaven says, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased’ (Matthew 3:17). Once John had served his purpose, once he has pointed away from himself to the Lord Jesus Christ, he retreats into the background. This is how it must always be. We point to One who is ‘more powerful’ than ourselves (Matthew 3:11; Romans 1:16). With John, we must learn to say, ‘Christ must increase, I must decrease’ (John 3:30). The contrast between John and Jesus is highlighted in Matthew 3:11 – ‘ I baptize with water… He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire’. This is still the contrast between the preacher and the Saviour – We preach the Word. He sends the power. Still He says, ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8).
The Bible readings are taken from the Catholic Lectionary.