Summary: The shallow adulation and transitory merriment that the people showed toward John the Baptist is echoed toward Christ in the world’s celebration during what is known as advent or the Christmas season.
‘TIS THE SEASON
I. The Season of John the Baptist
A. The Ministry of John the Baptist
1. He was a burning and a shining light
2. Several words can be used for light
a. Luchnos – a portable lamp or luminary.
b. phōs – light, source of luminousness
3. A light shining in the darkness lighting the path to the true light – Jesus Christ.
4. John 1:6-8 There was a man sent from God; his name was John. This one came as a witness, to bear witness concerning the Light, so that all might believe through him. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
B. The Initial Reaction to John’s Ministry
1. “You were willing for a season to rejoice in his light.”
2. Rejoice – literally “jump for joy’
3. When John first appeared among them, they were fond, and even proud of him; they gloried in him that a man of such uncommon endowments, and of such exemplary holiness, was raised up among them.
4. John the Baptists message resulted in his being extremely popular.
5. John’s message “The King is Coming” was met with great joy and elation.
6. They rejoiced that he professed to be sent to introduce the Messiah.
7. Mark 1:5 And all the land of Judea, and those of Jerusalem, went out to him and were all baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.
8. Matthew 3:5 Then Jerusalem and all Judea went out to him, and all the region round about Jordan.
9. The Jews were attracted to John “like moths to a candle” (Bernard)
C. The Rejection of John’s Ministry.
1. “You were willing FOR A SEASON to rejoice in his light.”
2. In the original, for an “hour” - denoting only a short time. They did it, as many others do, while he was popular, and it was the “fashion” to follow him.
3. The interest in the Baptist was a frivolous, superficial, and short-lived excitement.
4. Bengel says, “they were attracted by his brightness, not by his warmth.”
5. They were willing, like children, to play in John’s light without stopping to seriously consider its meaning, but when he bore testimony to Christ they blasphemed him. (Matthew 11:18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He has a demon.)
6. The prospect of a King overthrowing the Romans and bringing glory To Israel was exciting and enticing. But to follow the carpenter was another issue. When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus Christ as the Messiah his popularity stopped.
Transition: The shallow adulation and transitory merriment that the people showed toward John the Baptist echoes the world’s celebrations during what is known as advent or the Christmas season.
II. The Season of Christmas
A. Traditionally the fourth Sunday before Christmas day, which is the Sunday nearest November 30, marks the beginning of Advent and the Christmas Season. Christmas is a very special time of the year. It is a holiday that both children and adults enjoy. Songwriters have called it “the most wonderful time of the year” and “the season to be jolly”.
B. The General Acceptance of Christmas.
1. There are numerous reasons why people delight during the advent season.