"Double Blessing challenges us to reframe our perception of blessing, seeing God's gifts as opportunities for increased generosity." —Pastor Louie Giglio


Summary: A sermon for the 3rd Sunday in Advent Series B About John the Baptist pointing to Christ

3rd Sunday in Advent

Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11

John 1:6-8, 19-28

"Who Is Coming?"

Isaiah 61:

1 ¶ The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion--to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

8 For I the LORD love justice, I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

9 Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed.

10 ¶ I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.RSV

John 1:

6 ¶ There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him.

8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light.

19 ¶ And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, "Who are you?"

20 He confessed, he did not deny, but confessed, "I am not the Christ."

21 And they asked him, "What then? Are you Elijah?" He said, "I am not." "Are you the prophet?" And he answered, "No."

22 They said to him then, "Who are you? Let us have an answer for those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?"

23 He said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, ’Make straight the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said."

24 Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.

25 They asked him, "Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?"

26 John answered them, "I baptize with water; but among you stands one whom you do not know,

27 even he who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."

28 This took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.RSV

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

"Imagine yourself looking out over a landscape of thousands and thousands of people. People who seem happy, playing, dancing, laughing and celebration. As you focus in on their faces, they look just like you, you even see friends, neighbors, relatives and one who looks exactly like you. As you continue to watch these people, you notice that some don’t move as free as others. You see they are linked by invisible chains, to huge weights.

Weight of resentment, or bitterness, or unforgiving, or self-control, or loneliness, or deep guilt, or a broken spirit or unfaithfulness, or mistrust, or petty complaints, or worry, or gossip or wanting to be number one, or pride, or weights of knowing what is best for everyone, or self-righteousness or religious bigotry, or weights of piety. You see all these weights, some people walking with balls & chains some huge, some medium size, some small but everyone you see is chained to some kind of weight.

Some carry their weights with ease, disguising the fact they have to carry a weight, others are struggling, it affects their lives the way they move, dance, interact with others.

You look around and you see the one who looks like you, you see the weights or weights attached, they say....

Everyone is smiling, even the one who looks like you, but you can see their burdens, you can see their struggles, you can see how their lives their every movement is affected by the weights they carry. You long to free them, you long to find some way to release them from those weights, but at last you know you cannot, as they know they can’t free themselves.

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