December 3, 2019
Mark 1:7-11 (NLT)
John announced: “Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am – so much greater that I’m not even worthy to stoop down like a slave and untie the straps of his sandals. I baptize you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit!”
One day Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee, and John baptized him in the Jordan River.
As Jesus came up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Holy Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
The prophets of old promised God’s people that a Savior, a Messiah, a Redeemer would someday come. This chosen servant would lead Israel into a new exodus, a new salvation, and a new outpouring of the Spirit such as had never been seen before.
I can hear the people whispering with incredulous hope as John declares that this promised Coming One is near:
Has the time finally come?
Could we be the ones to witness his appearing?
John’s word is yes.
The time foretold by the prophets is unfolding here, in this situation, in this desert place, even now.
What a wonderful word for those who wait!
In the Gospel of Mark, after John’s prophecy is proclaimed, Jesus immediately appears on the scene as the long-awaited one.
Someone is coming soon . . .
. . . One day Jesus came.
Out of the all of the days that had passed before and out of all that would come in the future, there was one day; a day that had been absolutely and boringly normal up until that moment; a day that the Gospel of Mark depicts as going by unnoticed by everyone except God himself.
On that one day the Coming One came.
The people surely expected the Messiah to be someone else. They did not expect him to come from Nazareth, a town associated with Gentiles and other outsiders who were deemed intrinsically removed from the presence of God. They did not expect him to seek John’s baptism along with all the other wayward ones. They did not expect him to be a person poor and humble in stature, just as they were; someone with a mother and siblings to support, someone used to working with his hands, someone with a questionable heredity.
They didn’t expect the obviousness of Jesus’ humanity and the obscurity of his divinity.
They expected the Messiah to come and announce himself with power and distinction; instead, the Son of God slipped in unnoticed among them. He quietly joined the long line of pilgrims journeying into the wilderness, becoming one of the many, indistinguishable in the crowd.
Similarly, we can overlook the arrival of God because he does not show up as expected.
We wait for God; we pray for him to reveal himself. And yet he is already here. Every day, Jesus meets us in the wilderness; every day, he walks out again to be with us in the crowd.
He slips in undetected, joining us in our waiting and wondering and working, the one we’re looking for accompanying us in the dailiness of life without us even noticing.
He speaks in subtle whispers, in vague inspirations, in surges of love and grace for others that we could easily quench.
God makes our lives his language of revelation to us.
He doesn’t separate himself from the humanness of life; he unites himself with it.
There exists a daily advent of glory in the midst of our mundane moments, in the middle of our normal days; we only need to ask for eyes to see and ears to hear.
We don’t have to live as if we’re still waiting for God to come.
We can expect him now, in the midst of all that now entails.
He comes to join us in our language, in our activity, in our history.
He comes to join us in our failure, in our fatigue, in our fear.
He comes to join us in our expectation, even as he comes in ways that are unexpected.
Today is the one day of Jesus’ appearing.
May we recognize the coming of the Lord.
God is here.
God of grace and love, thank you that I don’t have to wait for you to come.
You are already here.
Please help me to recognize your glory in my life.
Spirit of God, breathe upon me.
- How might you be overlooking the Son of God’s quiet presence in your life?
- Where is God revealing himself to you in the midst of your normal days?
- If God is here, how does that change things?
Song for Meditation: