Summary: 2nd Sunday of Advent Year C
2nd Sunday of Advent Year C
Lord of the Lake Lutheran Church
Web page http://lordofthelake.org
By The Rev. Jerry Morrissey, Esq., Pastor
Heavenly Father empower each of us here today to be an example of John the Baptist to other people in our lives. Amen.
Title: “Second Coming.”
John the Baptist is presented here in the third chapter as though we had not read about him in chapter one. Chapters 1-2, are called the “infancy narratives” because they relate the announcement and birth of John and Jesus. Luke has artfully sewn these chapters into the entire fabric of the gospel. Nonetheless, revealing his dependence on Mark and another source (called “Q” by the scholars), Luke begins with the adult contribution of John to the history of salvation. He sees salvation history composed of three periods: the Period of Israel, from Abraham to John; the Period of Jesus, from John to the Apostles; and the Period of the Church, from the Apostles until the Second Coming. John, then, is a bridge from the old to the new, preparing the way for Jesus’ first coming into the world as its savior. The Apostles provide a similar bridge for the transition to the Period of the Church. Luke’s perspective is the whole world and everybody in it, past, present and future. He takes world history into account as he shows the injection of Jesus into the world, changing, over time, the destructive direction of world history into one having the intention or power to bring about salvation or redemption, ending in a total reversal of reality as humans have come to know it.
In verse 1: in the fifteenth year…: Only this first phrase, “in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,” is necessary to give the date of John’s appearance in the desert. The remaining information gives a kind of compressed survey of the political scene at this crucial moment in history. Luke wants to show that the “transcendent presence” of God enters history, so he situates the gospel in its setting within imperial and thereby “world-wide” and local history. The dating of John’s appearance follows the manner of ancient Old Testament prophets like Isaiah (1:1) and Jeremiah (1: 1-3). The scene is now set. The word of God came to John: This is a standard Old Testament way of describing the way prophets got their message. John is “called” by God to be his spokesperson. John is the last of a long line of prophets, heralds of God’s news flashes.
In the desert: There is a very good possibility that John once belonged to a monastic group called the Essenes. They lived in the desert area in the neighborhood of the Jordan River, living a life of extreme asceticism, that is self-denial, studying the scriptures and preparing for the priestly, kingly, prophetic Messiah, who would inaugurate the New Age by destroying the present one. If John did not actually belong to this group, he shows signs of being very influenced by them and their thinking. There is one big difference though. The Essenes kept to themselves and believed salvation was only for them. John preached a salvation open to all who would repent, not just a select few. For him, repentance did not require a monastic life-style, but a life of integrity, no matter what one’s occupation.